Monday, September 06, 2010

Voting Reform

Today, the House of Commons will begin to debate proposals to give people a chance to reform the voting system, and to equalise our parliamentary constituencies.

Our two Parties have different views on the future of our voting system. But we both recognise that there are genuine concerns about the current system. And we emphatically agree that the decision is not, in any case, for government alone.

It should be taken by the people themselves.That is why both our parties support putting this question to a referendum next May, just one example of the power shift we are determined to deliver. Fixing parliament also means tackling the unfairness in the geography of MPs' constituencies by making sure votes count equally wherever they are cast. The coalition also proposes to cut the number of MPs to 600.

This won't just cut the cost of politics. A smaller, hard working House of Commons, is part of redistributing power away from the centre to local people. This is precisely the sort of modernisation our Parliament needs – and Labour MPs know it.

Yet tonight, Labour MPs will troop through division lobbies voting against a referendum on voting reform – a referendum they promised in their manifesto. Labour now seems to be about opposition, opposition, opposition. In the end, opposition for opposition's sake gets you nowhere.


glynbeddau said...

"It should be taken by the people themselves"
Yes and we should have the opportunity to say what type of system we want, including STV.
The Lib-Dems have sold out a genuine chance for truly fair electoral system, and have agreed to allow the Tories to add cutting of the number of MPs in order to gerrymander the system.

Have the courage of your convictions and condemn this stitch up, and call for your Parties MPs to support Caroline Lucas’ amendment.

Weasel words are not going to change the fact that this is not what your members have fought for years.

Frank Little said...

I agree that AV is largely irrelevant. (I worry that some activists in the party are investing too much in a "yes" campaign, as if AV were the deal-breaker the anti-LD media make it out to be.) It must, however, be very doubtful if Cameron would ever have agreed to even a referendum on STV, knowing the visceral reaction to any sort of voting reform within his party (Jonathan Evans is the only exception I know of).

You can't accuse the Boundary Commission of gerrymandering constituencies until you see the actual outlines. Reducing the inequalities in the size of constituencies must improve democracy, not reduce it.