Write up of the debate on February 4th

Here’s a Press Release-type write up of the debate on the 4th February. If you want to use this to write an article on the event, please feel free to do so:

The Birmingham Yes to Fairer Votes group held its first public debate on Friday, February 4.

The debate, entitled “The May Referendum and the Future of Political Reform”, took place in a packed lecture theatre at the Birmingham Midland Institute.

Chaired by BBC journalist Adrian Goldberg, the panel consisted of Labour MP Jack Dromey, Chair of Ladywood Conservatives Dominic Fisher, Director of Ekklesia Jonathan Bartley and Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council Paul Tilsley.

They answered a number of questions from members of the audience, including ones on the May referendum, House of Lords reform and whether referenda should be used more often in Britain to decide policy.

All five panellists were in favour of changing the electoral system to the Alternative Vote. Jonathan Bartley said that under AV political parties would have to campaign in more than just a few key marginal seats to win elections, whilst Dominic Fisher said that it would give voters more choice.

The No to AV campaign was invited to take part, but said that they would only debate if one particular speaker on the panel stood down.

The Birmingham Yes to Fairer Votes group is an organisation campaigning for a “Yes” vote in the May referendum.

Deputy Regional Organiser, Chris Burgess said “I am delighted to see so many people braving the wind and bad traffic to attend the debate.

“We are particularly grateful to Paul Tilsley for stepping in at short notice to replace Lorely Burt, who was sadly ill and could not speak on Friday.

“The fact that our audience was so heavily in favour of AV shows that voting Yes in May is a small change that would make a big difference to the way that politics is conducted in Britain.”

Speakers left to right: Dominic Fisher (Chair Ladywood Conservatives), Cllr Paul Tilsley (Deputy Leader, Bham City Council), Adrian Goldberg (Chair) Jonathan Bartley (Director, Ekklesia), Jack Dromey MP (MP for Bham Erdington).

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