Miliband demands ‘reset referendum’

By Ian Dunt

David Miliband has demanded a ‘reset referendum’ after the general election in a speech to influential thinktank Demos.

Not content with Gordon Brown’s push for a referendum on the alternative vote, the foreign secretary called for the referendum to be expanded to include a host of constitutional issues.

“I favour in the next parliament a referendum that is not just about the alternative vote for the House of Commons, but also about local government, fixed term parliaments, and the House of Lords,” he said.

“Call it a reset referendum.”

The demands are broadly in line with Labour policy except for the inclusion of fixed term parliaments.

Reformists seeking an end to the prime minister’s power to decide when an election is held have received crucial support from Mr Brown’s approach to the power.

After eventually backing down from allowing an early election just after arriving in Downing Street, the prime minister still refuses to name the date of this year’s election, despite almost universal expectations that it will take place on May 6th.

Mr Miliband went on to attack David Cameron’s election agenda, arguing that the Tory leader’s thinking on the role of government was hopelessly confused.

“The Tory dystopia of modern Britain relies on a picture of what is actually happening in Britain that has as much basis in reality as Avatar does,” he argued.

“The Tories are split. Not right versus left, but head versus heart. Radicalism versus reassurance. The heart says cut government, attack Europe. The head says: watch out, don’t say that, the voters might hear,” he went on.

“The result is that today’s Conservatism looks more and more like a toxic cocktail of Tory traditions. The government on offer from Davis Cameron would be as meritocratic as MacMillan, as compassionate as Thatcher, and as decisive as Major.”