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Regional Government (North West)

Volume 405: debated on Wednesday 21 May 2003

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To ask the Deputy Prime Minister further to the answer of 14 May, Official Report, column 301, on Regional Government (North West), if he will make a statement on how the question to be put in the second vote will be decided on; and whether the result of the second vote will be binding on the Government. [114711]

Section 3(3) of the Regional Assemblies (Preparations) Act sets out the question to be asked in any local government referendum. The options for unitary local government which are put to voters in two-tier areas in such a referendum cannot be determined until the Boundary Committee has made its recommendations. So the order for a local government referendum to be held will set out the text of the options which are to appear on the ballot paper. Sections 3(7) and 3(8) of the Act provide, respectively, that the Electoral Commission must be consulted on this wording and that their comments are laid before each House when the order is laid. The order will also he subject to the affirmative resolution procedure.Local government reorganisation would only go ahead if an elected assembly is to be established. The local government referendums will be advisory, though the Government would intend to be guided by the results.