A letter in the Guardian, co-signed with Will Straw of Left Foot Forward.
The problem of a headline "Labour to oppose vote reform bill" (28 July) is that it risks implying that Labour is ditching its manifesto support for a referendum on the electoral system, and that this is all that the coalition's parliamentary voting system and constituencies bill is about.
Yet Labour's amendment reaffirms its support for an AV referendum, while opposing the flawed proposals to rush through new boundaries by ditching the current non-partisan system.
A bill combining these different issues makes no sense, except as a backroom deal between the two governing parties.
The deal makes sense for those who want the boundaries to go through and the referendum to fail, but it is an elephant trap for the Lib Dems who want to win the referendum. The effect is to destabilise pro-electoral reform Labour forces, when there is no chance of winning a yes vote without mobilising Labour voters.
If Nick Clegg were to propose two separate bills, parliament could consider the merits of the separate issues. Labour would have to support a referendum bill, and the coalition could whip through its re-districting plans.
General secretary, Fabian Society
Editor, Left Foot Forward