On Wednesday, the Constitution Committee in the Lords took evidence on the Government’s constitutional reform programme. We had a panel of Peter Riddell, Professor Robert Hazell and Professor Robert Blackburn. It was extremely productive. We covered fixed-term Parliaments, the referendum on the Alternative Vote and reform of the House of Lords. All three were concerned by the problems associated with the speed with which major constitutional legislation was being introduced, limiting the capacity for pre-legislative scrutiny.
On the referendum, there were differing views on whether it should be held on the same day as local elections and elections to the Scottish Parliament and the National Assembly for Wales. Robert Hazell thought it was sensible to hold them on the same day, Robert Blackburn had no strong views, and Peter Riddell was opposed, pointing out that there would be a differential turnout as not all parts of England were having local elections. Living in London, he felt Londoners would miss out.