A debate in the bar: Newsnight visits Marlborough

Written by Tony Millett on .

Main Pic:  L to R - Duncan Hames (LibDem, Chippenham)Claire Perry (Con, Devizes) Michael Crick (BBC Newsnight)

There was a BBC satellite uplink van parked outside the Wellington Arms in the High Street on Tuesday evening.  The pub was hosting a live section of BBC2’s Newsnight programme for a debate about the referendum on whether  voting in general elections should change from ‘first past the post’ to the ‘alternative vote’ or AV system.

The programme’s political editor, Michael Crick, presented a report and a live interview with Claire Perry (Conservative MP for Devizes – against AV) and Duncan Hames (LibDem MP for Chippenham (in favour of AV.)

Newsnight chose these Wiltshire constituency MPs because uniquely in Britain the county’s electors will be going to the polls solely to vote in the referendum.  In other parts of the country there are local government and regional assembly elections on the same day.

This means the turnout in Wiltshire on 5 May will be a clear barometer of interest in the decision on the voting system.

Earlier in the day Crick and his team had tested public opinion in Marlborough at the golf club, a pottery class in Wagon Yard and in the High Street.