Letter: The people decide how to elect MPs

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The Independent Online
Sir: Many Labour MPs, new and old, are grateful to the The Independent for reminding us that electoral reform is an essential catalyst for a new political settlement for this country.

Labour in government will work for a one-nation society. But a one- nation voting system which gives seats broadly in line with votes cast is still on our political agenda despite and because of Labour's landslide. In arguing for change, we cannot now be accused of defeatism.

At the first meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party, Tony Blair reminded us that politicians are the servants not the masters. That is why the people will decide in a voting referendum how they elect MPs. We look forward to new voting systems for the 1999 European elections and to electing the Welsh Assembly and the Scottish Parliament after successful referendums to see them established.

A Labour government will set up a Commission to decide the best system of proportional voting for Britain. This will need to maintain the link between constituency and member of Parliament and ensure that disproportionate power is not wielded by small parties. But the debate about the voting system for the Commons in the next century will continue.

RICHARD BURDEN MP

(Birmingham Northfield, Lab)

Chair, Labour Campaign for

Electoral Reform

Redland, Bristol

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