Democracy campaigners have reacted angrily to news that the British government plans to bury proposals to reform the House of Commons by putting them to a special vote which means they will almost certainly be rejected.
Proposals to strengthen the independence of Parliament had been made by the cross-party Reform Committee, set up by the Prime Minister at the height of the expenses scandal last year, to recommend ways in which trust in politics may be restored.
But following opposition from Labour Whips, it appears the Government has decided to strangle their proposals at birth by tabling an “unamendable order” - which means that an objection from a single MP will prevent any of the measures from being introduced.
This comes on top of the last-minute back room negotiations between Labour MPs to weigh up whether passing a law that will commit the next government to a referendum on electoral reform will wrong-foot David Cameron’s Conservatives and win votes for Labour as the “party of reform”.
Pam Giddy, director of the reform coalition, Power2010, said: “People are fed up of being represented by a spineless rubber stamp Parliament that can’t stand up to government.”
She continued: “It is outrageous that even these modest proposals for reform, drawn up in response to the catastrophic loss of trust that followed the expenses scandal, are being strangled at birth by the Government. It is now crystal clear that any hope of fixing our broken politics must come from the people.”
As part of its campaign to clean up politics, Power2010 brought together a sample of people from across the UK, selected by YouGov to be representative of the population as a whole, to discuss and debate ideas to reform British democracy. A proposal to strengthen select committees received most support, followed by a proposal to give MPs more control over the parliamentary timetable.
Power2010 is now holding a public vote on the shortlist of ideas produced by the assembly to find the top five ideas that will clean up and reform UK politics. Ideas being voted on include a “None of the Above” option on ballot papers, and a right to recall disgraced MPs. The top five will be presented to all parties and candidates standing at the next election in a major nationwide campaign.
Ekklesia is among the supporting organisation in Power2010.
You can view the shortlist of reforms and vote on them at: http://www.power2010.org.uk/votes