Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Electoral Reform Bill must give voters real choice – Howarth

The Liberal Democrats have tabled amendments to the Government’s proposals for a referendum on electoral reform that would:

· Offer voters a real choice between first-past-the-post and a truly proportional system (Single Transferable Vote), rather than AV

· Bring forward the date of the referendum to next May

· Close a loophole allowing the next Government to kill the proposals without an Act of Parliament

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Shadow Justice Secretary, David Howarth said: “Voters deserve a real choice – between the discredited status quo and a system where every vote matters and there are no safe seats.

“The Alternative Vote system is a very small step in the right direction, but it is not proportional and it does not give voters enough power over the party and the person elected as MP.

“It is also unacceptable that Labour’s amendments would make it childishly easy for the next Government to kill a referendum without further legislation.

“By acting purely out of naked self-interest, the Conservative Party has long been a roadblock to electoral reform.

“It would be far too easy for them to abandon a referendum if they win an election, which is why the Liberal Democrats have taken steps to Tory-proof the Bill.”
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