Brown wins big Commons victory for vote reform
MPs back referendum on better voting system
While Great Britain has a somewhat popular campaign to recover rents for public benefit, those Brits have a hard time making a dent in the current, restricted electoral system. A more just system -- such as the one proposed -- gives geonomics a better chance of becoming the law of the land. We trim, blend, and append two 2010 articles on the UK’s move toward letting every vote count from (1) the BBC, Feb 9 and (2) the Independent, Feb 10, by Nigel Morris.
by the BBC and by Nigel Morris
BBC: What Is Alternative Vote?
Voters rank candidates in order of preference and anyone getting more than 50% in the first round is elected.
If that doesn't happen, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and their second choices allocated to the remaining candidates.
This process continues until a winner emerges.
But it is not certain the bill to put the proposal on the ballot will pass before Parliament is dissolved ahead of the next election.
But the wide-ranging bill has to go through various parliamentary stages before becoming law and is expected to face opposition in the House of Lords. Downing Street has admitted "time is tight" to change the law ahead of a general election, widely expected in May.
At one stage during the debate, former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney appeared in the public gallery for about five minutes -- he chatted to a group of students from Argentina who spotted him before he left.
Opening the Commons debate, Justice Secretary Jack Straw said trust in Parliament had been "profoundly damaged" by the scandal of politicians charging their private expenses to the public.
Part of restoring trust must be considering which voting system could best serve them, he said.
The Lib Dems’ David Howarth said: "We cannot go on with a political system under which unpopular governments are elected by a little more than a third of those voting and who push through policies that two-thirds of those voting have just voted against."
Mr Straw also said the government will back a Tory amendment which would guarantee general election votes are counted on polling night.
Labour pledged a referendum on electoral reform in its 1997 election manifesto but the idea was kicked into the long grass by Tony Blair after his landslide victory.
the Independent’s Nigel Morris
Prime Minister Gordon Brown's plan to hold a referendum next year on scrapping the first-past-the-post system for elections for Westminster won a convincing majority last night in the Commons.
MPs backed the historic change to the way Britain elects its politicians by 365 to 187 after the Liberal Democrats joined the vast majority of Labour MPs to support the move.
Under the proposal the country would be asked to choose between retaining the current electoral method or replacing it with the Alternative Vote (AV), where candidates are ranked in order of preference.
The battle over electoral reform, which is strongly opposed by the Conservatives, will now switch to the House of Lords. Ministers hope last night's majority of 178 will increase pressure on peers not to block the measure. With parliamentary time fast running out, plans for a referendum look likely to become embroiled in horse-trading between the parties over which government Bills are rushed into law before the election, expected on 6 May.
Last night's result came after a fiery four-hour debate in the Commons during which the Tories accused Labour of cynically attempting to rig the voting system in its favour.
The expected rebellion by large numbers of Labour MPs failed to materialise after they heeded their whips' pleas for unity.
Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, denied the move was for electoral gain or designed to pave the way to a deal with the Liberal Democrats in a hung parliament. He said: "I cannot for the life of me see why the Conservatives do not have the courage of their convictions ready to make their arguments before the British people."
But the former Tory cabinet minister Douglas Hogg said Mr Brown had displayed not the "slightest interest" in electoral reform during 12 years in high office. "What we are actually dealing with here is an act of pure political cynicism," Mr Hogg said.
The Conservatives also claimed that staging the referendum would cost £80m, arguing that the expenditure would be difficult to justify in straitened financial circumstances.
Earlier David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, called for asking the country to back the introduction of fixed-term parliaments. Mr Miliband's comments were seen as the foretaste of his personal manifesto for a future Labour leadership contest. He argued that Britain needed to do much more than simply introduce AV – although he welcomed it as a "really good step forward" – to restore confidence in its political system.
Under a Labour amendment to the Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill, a referendum would have to be held by the end of October 2011.
To get more elections and better branches …
A Major Newspaper Promotes a Major Reform
A creature of antiquated compromise between the united states
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