Voices

Too many let electoral tactics influence their decision in the polling booth

Commons backs referendum on election reform

A referendum on changing the way MPs are elected will be held by October next year under Government plans passed by the Commons tonight.

PM faces Labour revolt over vote reform

Gordon Brown is braced for a Labour rebellion today against moves to scrap the first-past-the-post voting system.

Leading article: Two cheers for a little bit more democracy

If electoral reform is back on the agenda, that is a positive development

Leading article: Safe seats blight our democracy

Writing in this newspaper today, the Justice Secretary, Jack Straw, accuses the Conservatives of planning to fight a US-style election in which money is the deciding factor. We are seeing, he says, "an attempt to buy the next general election". What he stopped short of saying was that if the Conservatives were indeed plotting to win by outspending Labour, the outlays would be most efficiently concentrated in the relatively few marginal constituencies.

Ministers force debate on voting reform

Move designed to expose Tories as defenders of first-past-the-post

Caroline Spelman: You Ask The Questions

The MP for Meriden and shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary answers your questions, such as 'Aren't you just a one-man band?' and 'Would you do deals with the Lib Dems?'

Stephen Glover: This injunction shows a real lack of respect for the freedom of the press

Super-injunctions are much more oppressive than a traditional court order

Labour conference diary

* Gordon Brown received one of the week's biggest cheers for pledging a referendum on reforming the electoral system. But many of the party faithful are spitting feathers over his belated enthusiasm for the alternative voting system.

Nick Clegg: 'You can't promise the same menu of goodies. It's just not plausible'

The Lib Dem leader tells Andrew Grice why even his party's most cherished policies may have to be sacrificed

Steve Richards: This farce of constitutional change

Opportunities for reform only appear at a parliament's start, not at its end

Peers line up to block House of Lords reforms

Only 9 per cent would support plan for fully elected second chamber

New peers face time limit in House of Lords

All new peers should be appointed to the House of Lords for a fixed term limited to three parliaments - up to 15 years - as the next step towards a democratically elected second chamber, a report recommended.

Alan Johnson: Labour must embrace voting reform

First-past-the-post is a miserably disempowering electoral system

Expenses scandal boosts support for PR

More people support proportional representation (PR) than the present first-past-the-post system in the wake of the MPs' expenses scandal, according to a new survey.

Caroline Lucas: Why Labour and the Greens could benefit from co-operation

Some people say coalitions are undemocratic, and depend on backroom deals and unprincipled trade-offs. I say that the opposite is true. Coalitions can often be more honest and more transparent, than a party that tries to be all things to all people, and where the backroom deals include the kind of bribery, bullying and smears that characterise the current regime.

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Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker