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Thursday, April 08, 2010

Gordon Brown is very late to the party

The Prime Minister yesterday promised the earth in constitutional terms in a last minute bid to secure his own re-election. In a speech he offered “most comprehensive programme of constitutional reform for a century”, presumably to stop the flow of votes to the Liberal Democrats.

His plan includes a written constitution, with a commitment to fixed-term parliaments, ending the historic power of the prime minister to choose the timing of future elections, referendums on voting reform for Westminster elections and final reform of the House of Lords.

Other measures would include a ban on MPs working for lobbying companies, giving voters the power to get rid of MPs who are guilty of gross financial misconduct, a right of petition to trigger Commons debates on issues of public concern and a free vote for MPs on lowering the voting age to 16. A number of these proposals have already been voted down by Labour MPs in this Parliament.

This leads one overwhelming question: why now? The answer is pretty obvious but it does not explain why Labour have waited 13 years to get to this point or indeed appear to be conducting a massive and flamboyant u-turn. The result is that what is on offer comes across as naked opportunism rather than principled reform, furthermore, it does not go far enough.

Once again Labour are offering too little, too late.
Not only that, but Labour have actively opposed many of the measures they now claim to support. For instance, as recently as just two years ago, a government minister 'talked out' David Howarth's fixed term parliaments bill. And now Brown thinks we've all forgotten - does he think we're all stupid?
@ Bernard "...does he think we're all stupid?" Obviously!
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