Smith to put PR to a vote

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JOHN SMITH has decided to put proportional representation to a vote at Labour's annual conference in October, with changes to the party's trade union block vote system, writes Colin Brown.

The constitutional changes could dominate the conference, but Mr Smith, in an interview for the Times, refused to give a lead on PR and said his guiding principle on the block vote was the need for 'one member, one vote'.

He also gave a commitment to force a Commons vote on the Labour amendment to include the social chapter in the Maastricht treaty.

Some anti-Maastricht Conservatives are threatening to vote with Labour to wreck the treaty, but Mr Smith insisted it would not do so.

Redefining his party's traditional view of wealth redistribution, the Labour leader said: 'The right education and training are maybe far more important . . . than whether they pay more or less taxation.'