Government vows voting reforms will 'transform politics'
Tuesday 25 May 2010
The Government today promised a series of reforms "to transform politics" - including five-year fixed parliaments, a referendum on a new voting system and cutting the number of MPs.
The Queen's Speech also pledged legislation to allow voters to "recall" an MP guilty of serious wrongdoing and force a by-election.
The plan for a five-year parliament means the next general election is on course for May 7 2015.
Proposed legislation would remove the right of a premier to ask the Queen for an earlier dissolution of parliament unless he could win the support of 55% of MPs in a vote in the Commons.
On voting reform, a Bill would provide for a referendum to choose between the existing "first past the post" system of electing MPs and the Alternative Vote system.
The AV system requires a candidate to achieve 50% of the vote to become elected, with voters ranking candidates in order of preference so that if their first choice is eliminated their vote switches to their second choice and so on.
The legislation providing for the referendum will also allow the system to be changed if there is a "yes" vote for AV, without the need for further laws.
The Queen's Speech also said the Boundary Commission will be asked to draw up plans for more equally-sized constituencies, with fewer MPs, in time for the next election.
That move would be seen as helpful to the Tories, who traditionally have to garner larger numbers of votes in bigger constituencies to get elected than their Labour counterparts.
Voters will also be given the right to force a by-election if their MP "is judged to have engaged in serious wrongdoing" and they can get 10% of electors to sign a petition to "recall" the member.
The Government said these moves were "an ambitious programme of reforms to transform politics and redistribute power away from the centre".
Local councils will also be given more powers in a Decentralisation and Localism Bill.
Decision-making powers on housing and planning matters would be returned to councils from quangos or central government.
Communities could also bid to take over and run threatened local services, and residents could institute referendums on local issues - including threatened Council Tax rises.
Public bodies would also be required to publish online the job titles of every member of staff and the salaries and expenses of senior officials.
The Decentralisation and Localism Bill will also abolish the controversial Infrastructure Planning Commission, set up by the previous government to streamline major projects such as power stations, airports and motorways.
The commission, which was to examine and decide applications against a framework of several new National Policy Statements set out by the government, had been widely criticised for taking power away from local people.
The coalition Government says it plans to replace it with a "democratically accountable" system which provides a fast-track process for major infrastructure schemes.
- 1 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 2 I might be an MP, but that doesn't stop me fighting sexism with my breasts
- 3 Martha Stewart accuses Snoop Dogg of 'smoking for four hours' during Justin Bieber Roast
- 4 Google April Fools': company unveils backwards search engine and huggable digital assistant
- 5 April Fools' Day 2015: The best hoax news stories from around the internet
Martha Stewart accuses Snoop Dogg of 'smoking for four hours' during Justin Bieber Roast
April Fools' Day 2015: The best hoax news stories from around the internet
April Fools' Day 2015 live: The best pranks and fake stories from around the world
University of Cambridge: Remains of 1,300 scholars are found under building
Turkey power cut: Prime Minister says nationwide blackout could be caused by terrorists
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you looking for your first step into...
£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This innovative company working...
£12500 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This established Wakefield Deal...
£24500 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...