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.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
- 2 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 4 War is war: Why I stand with Israel
- 5 Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Ian Thorpe gay: Olympic swimmer comes out in Parkinson interview
Stephen Fry ‘criticises Operation Yewtree in dinner party rant’ calling for tougher laws to deter false sex abuse allegations
Israel-Gaza conflict: ‘Sderot cinema’ image shows Israelis with popcorn and chairs 'cheering as missiles strike Palestinian targets'
Israel-Gaza conflict: Israeli air strike destroys home for the disabled killing two women residents
Israel-Gaza conflict: Israeli PM says conflict may 'continue for a long time' as hundreds of Palestinians flee their homes
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
Emergency data law: David Cameron plots to bring back snoopers’ charter
NUT strike: David Cameron announces crackdown on strike action ahead of mass industrial action
£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Dynamics CRM D...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Web Developer ...
£50000 - £67000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# R&D .NE...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...