English Parliament and Electoral Reform: A reply from Michael Gove MP

I have received a reply from Michael Gove to my previous letter. I've also received a reply from the department of constitutional affairs. This will appear later. I'll write the responses sometime over the weekend. The issues covered here are the English Parliament and electoral reform

9th June, 2005

Thank you for your letter of 27th May. You make a series of interesting points. Funnily enough just after replying to your previous letter I read a piece by Matthew Parris in The Times which encapsulated, even better than Jack Straw's article, my main feelings on changing the electoral system. I appreciate that the Single Transferable Vote and AV+ are among the more attractive PR systems available, but I still believe that first past the post is the best means of securing effective Government.

I do, however, believe there may be a case for a form of Proportional Representation in Assemblies which are more deliberative and I am open-minded on the case for PR in a future reformed second Chamber.

You am quite right to bring me up short for my failure to answer your question on England. I think there is a problem for English voters now that Scotland has a Parliament and Wales has an Assembly. I suspect the answer may be something close to the proposal outlined by William Hague when he argued that laws which apply only to England need to have the support of a majority of English MPs. But these are difficult matters to navigate and I do not have a definitive view on precisely the right means of addressing the problem you correctly identified. I know you will still find this answer unsatisfactory but thank you, nevertheless, for taking such an informed interest in this important question.

Yours Sincerely,


I have several points I will be making in response (not least of which being my amusement that he doesn't view the commons as deliberative, but admiration at his honesty).

If you have spotted things which need comment, please use the comment form for this article. It may duplicate my list, but there is no harm in that!

Update: This post mentioned in Britblog