Letter: PR timetable

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The Independent Online
Sir: The Labour MEP Michael Elliott (Letters, 29 May) is ill-informed as well as out of touch with his reforming government.

No other EU member state or applicant would dream of abandoning PR for the European Parliament. Regional lists, as agreed between Mr Elliott's party leadership and the Liberal Democrats, retain (and make more sense of) the constituency link with the MEP.

And it is perfectly possible to introduce PR in Great Britain in time for the next elections in 1999. The Federal Trust has just produced a rather good pamphlet, by Lord Plant and Michael Steed, which sets out in detail what should be done and how.

What is needed in July is a White Paper on the matter. Before then, at Amsterdam, the European Union should add the phrase "in time for the 1999 elections" to the relevant Article 138(3) of the treaty that prescribes a uniform electoral procedure for the European Parliament.

It would not be the first time that British constitutional history had been made by the Dutch.

ANDREW DUFF

Director, Federal Trust

London SW1

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