HC Deb 01 August 1984 vol 65 c350

11.3 am

Mr. Paddy Ashdown (Yeovil)

With permission, Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to present a petition on behalf of some 700 people in my area protesting against our present grossly unfair and undemocratic system of elections and calling for electoral justice.

Those who organised the petition—they did so in a very short time indeed—tell me that almost every person whom they approached signed it with enthusiasm. It is clear, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Hillhead (Mr. Jenkins) has pointed out, that this is merely the tip of the iceberg and that there is overwhelming support, in my constituency as elsewhere in Britain, in favour of fair votes.

Apart from a national petition, to which there have been more than 1 million signatures, this is the 78th constituency petition to be presented to the House during this Parliament.

The petition concludes: Wherefore your Petitioners pray that Parliament should prepare a Bill for future elections to be held by proportional representation and should hold a referendum to give the people a choice between this reform Bill and the preservation of the present system. I beg leave to present the petition.

To lie upon the Table.