Lib-Lab deal on voting reform sealed

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Labour and the Liberal Democrats are expected to announce an agreement on constitutional reform today. The deal, settled at a final meeting last night, will cover a wide range of constitutional changes including the reform of the House of Lords, Scottish and Welsh devolution, a freedom of information act and the incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights into British law.

The most contentious area, that of electoral reform, has been reported to have been settled with plans for a commission which will be given 12 months to agree on the issue. While the Liberal Democrats are committed to proportional representation, the Labour leader Tony Blair is not persuaded of its necessity.

One source close to the negotiations said they had reached an "absolutely substantial and concrete" agreement.

Labour has said it will hold a referendum on proportional representation if it wins the election, Tony Blair has been deeply reluctant to commit himself to campaigning for a "yes" vote.

The Tories can now be expected to claim that there is no real difference between the two parties, and that a vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote for Labour.