Smith backs reform of state

JOHN SMITH nailed his colours firmly to the mast of constitutional reform last night in a major speech spotlighting Labour as friend of the individual and foe of the 'relentless centralisation of power' assumed by the Tories since 1979.

Calling for a Human Rights Act, a Ministry of Justice, and a Freedom of Information Act, the Labour leader said: 'We need a different style of government in which open decision- making, wide participation and keen debate are encouraged and accepted as essential components of an open society.'

Mr Smith told a meeting of the Charter 88 constitutional reform group: 'I am arguing for a new constitutional settlement, a new deal between the people and the state that puts the citizen centre stage'.

Smith's new deal, page 6

Andrew Marr, page 17

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