England & Wales

Will Conservative MPs support a referendum on electoral reform?

Andy blogged last week about whether backbench Conservative MPs will vote to allow a referendum on the Alternative Vote system (AV) that, if passed, could cost nearly ten per cent of them their seats. Support from backbench Conservative MPs may now be less likely as polling shows that people would vote for AV if given the chance. ICM reckons that 56 per cent of people support a change to a more proportional system. This news could make selling a referendum to his backbenchers harder for David Cameron. And, if his backbenchers are not convinced, there are signs that they may be prepared to defy the leadership in a vote. Paul Goodman estimates that 92 backbench Conservative MPs voted against Mr Cameron’s proposal to expand the backbench 1922 Committee to include Ministers. This suggests that internal support could be a headache for the coalition. The public, however, seem far happier. ICM found that 59 per cent of people supported the new coalition.