Hoon hints at voting reform

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Indy Politics

Geoff Hoon, the new Leader of the Commons, has dropped a strong hint that the Government is going to have to take seriously the clamour for reform of the voting system.

Geoff Hoon, the new Leader of the Commons, has dropped a strong hint that the Government will have to take seriously the clamour for reform of the voting system.

Writing in the House Magazine, which circulates to fellow MPs, Mr Hoon warned the reason people do not turn to vote at elections is not that they are lazy but because they do not think it makes any difference.

"There have been suggestions about a growing gap between politicians and the public. This is an issue of deep concern. My sense is that it is more than apathy," he wrote.

"In some parts of the country there is a real feeling of alienation, of reluctance to participate in our democracy."

The Labour Party was returned with a sizeable majority in the Commons this month after collecting fewer votes than in the 1992 general election, when they were beaten by the Conservatives. The result has prompted calls for a system in which Commons seats are allocated to political parties in proportion to the votes cast.

Mr Hoon's comments contrast with the remarks of the Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer, who claimed there is "no groundswell" of support for changing the voting system.

Several Cabinet ministers, including Mr Hoon, have indicated support for electoral reform. The Labour Campaign for Electoral Reform's list of past and present sponsors includes Patricia Hewitt, Ruth Kelly and Tessa Jowell.

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