Fixing the system - to exclude Labour

Stable government - or staying in government?

Subject of discussion at a meeting of Princes branch (of Vauxhall Labour Party) and addressed in Newsnight this evening was the Tory/LibDem plans to change our democractic system.  The agreement between the two parties includes, together with a referendum on an Alternative Vote electoral system, the following:

  • Five year fixed term parliaments
  • Dissolution of parliament only if 55% of MPs vote in favour
  • Reduction in number of constituencies and changes in their size
  • Large increase in number of (unelected) peers with a change in the composition of the House of Lords

All the parties agree some form of reform to our system is required.  But this agreement does look rather like changing the rules of the game and to the detriment of one party in particular.  The coalition government plans to interfere in the independent workings of the Boundary Commission.  It also intends to make these changes without further reference to the electorate.  This is not new politics - more like a stitch up.


Stephen Beer, 12/05/2010

Lucy (Guest) 14/05/2010 19:38
I like the notion of fixed term parliaments, although I would prefer four years to five years (it seems to me to be the 'sweet spot': five years feels a little too long, and three years is undoubtedly too short). I am in two minds about the proposal for the dissolution of parliament early requiring 55% of MPs to vote in favour of it. If it does not affect the 50% + 1 threshold for a no-confidence vote, then I would support the move -- I believe that if coalition government is our political future, then it is right that the Prime Minister cannot dissolve parliament and call and election at a time he or she judges to be favourable, and that it should require a higher level of support than a simple majority. If, however, it would require 55% of MPs to give a successful no-confidence vote, then I would be very much against the change.

I am not in favour of the reduction in number of constituencies and MPs, which is one reason why I voted Labour in the election. I find the idea of the change of boundaries and reduction of MPs without recourse to the recommendations of the Boundary Commission worrying. I do not want my constituency to increase in size; it already spans two large towns as well as a rural area, all of which have different local concerns and issues, and I do not believe that the local MP should be stretched even more thinly. Similarly, any increase in numbers of unelected peers is worrying.

I wish the Labour party in your area the very best!

By the way, I found your blog through the CSM site (I'm interested in the Christian Socialist movement), and you might remember me somewhat from Chelmer Village -- I'm Anne and Jeffrey's daughter :)

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