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ERS: Brown needs action and a timetable on reform

The Electoral Reform Society has responded to the Prime Minister's statement on Constitutional Reform.

The Society's Chief Executive Dr Ken Ritchie said:

"Today we've heard plenty of familiar phrases. Debates that will be 'taken forward', plans to 'consult widely'. We've had a decade of talk, what we need now is action.

"Brown's reform package amounts to big words, but few details. Movement on the voting system, the voting age, and reform of the upper house are welcome, even essential at this time of crisis. But these debates have been festering in Labour circles since 1997. Brown promised a lasting constitutional settlement when he arrived in Downing Street two years ago. We would remind the Prime Minister that words do not amount to a legacy.

Brown has yet to show a real commitment to a new and better form of politics. That David Cameron seems hell bent on shutting down the debate on real reform is disappointing but unsurprising, as he eyes up the kind of majority our current system doles out on a minority of the vote. If Brown wants to prove he's interested in the voters he will take these decisions out of the hands of politicians. He can draw clear dividing lines between genuine progressives in all parties and the vested interests determined to cling to First-Past-the-Post.

"The omens are not good. When Labour promised a referendum Roy Jenkins' Commission floated their proposals, and the government watered that commitment down. The review of electoral systems was not a 'serious debate' as the PM claimed today. This obscure document proved a reliable method of kicking his party's manifesto pledge into the long grass through two elections, and today you can find it mouldering on a shelf at the Ministry of Justice.

"This chance for change can't end up as another unread report or consultation paper on Gordon's bookshelf. Reform will only escape the long grass with decisive action and a timetable."

Contact:

For more information contact the Electoral Reform Society on 020 7928 1622 or Ashley Dé 07968791684 or Dr Ken Ritchie on 07754 165551

About us:

The Electoral Reform Society is campaigning to change the way we choose our politicians. We believe that a fair voting system will improve our democracy, allow politicians to better represent you and help them to tackle the serious issues facing our society. Fairness, accountability and a real choice for voters should not be compromised. The Society advocates the use of the Single Transferable Vote (STV) http://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/article.php?id=48 in public elections.

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