Margaret Beckett named as president of No 2 AV campaign

MARGARET Beckett, the former Labour foreign secretary, will today be named as the president of the “No to AV” campaign, which aims to secure a “No” vote in next May’s referendum on the alternative vote.

The decision to appoint a Labour stalwart – Beckett was party leader for a short spell in 1994– will be seen as an attempt to prove the cross-party, non-partisan nature of the campaign.

““This is so important it has to rise above party politics,” she said yesterday.

Other Labour campaigners against AV include former Labour home secretary David Blunkett; ex-deputy Prime Minister Lord Prescott; Lord Reid, a serial cabinet minister in Tony Blair’s government; and Lord Falconer, the last Lord Chancellor.

Justice secretary Ken Clarke will be a Tory patron opposing AV, along with education secretary Michael Gove; foreign secretary William Hague; former London mayor candidate Steve Norris; and Baroness Warsi, the chairman of the Conservative party.