Letter: Europe's debate on new voting system

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Sir: Lord Bonham-Carter was wrong to state that the European Parliament had postponed its debate on the De Gucht Report on a uniform electoral procedure until the summer, which would imply that 'any change cannot be made in time for the 1994 elections' ('Public wants new voting system, Labour peer says', 21 January).

In fact, in requesting a deferment of this debate on Monday, Jean-Pierre Cot, chairman of the Socialist Group, wanted to ensure a large majority in favour of this Report after further discussion within the Group. At the same time he gave an undertaking that, if the timetable of the House of Commons required that the European Parliament debate the De Gucht Report in February or March, 'the necessary measures' would be taken to ensure that the Report was dealt with in time and, in any case, it would be debated 'before Easter'.

Moreover, at yesterday's meeting of Parliament's Enlarged Bureau, the political group leaders agreed that the De Gucht Report would be debated during the March part-session. Lord Bonham-Carter need not be worried.

Yours faithfully,


Secretariat of the Socialist Group

European Parliament