Government vows voting reforms will 'transform politics'

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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Commodities Brokers / Sales / Closers / Telesales

£10000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Investment consultancy firm sp...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operative

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This high quality thread manufacturer is recr...

Langley James : IT Support, Bradford £16k - £22k

£16000 - £22000 per annum + Benefits: Langley James : IT Support, Bradford £16...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Manager / Invoice Finance £75k OTE

£40000 - £50000 per annum + £75,000 OTE Car+Mobile : h2 Recruit Ltd: Business ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital