A Reforming Parliament

I have received identical questions about the above from a number of people and thought it would be a good idea to share the identical answers I have given with my blog readers.

The email said:

“I live in the constituency you wish to represent in Parliament. As a candidate in the election you are asking me to vote for you. But I would first like to know if you understand the need for real change at this election – or instead want to continue with politics as usual.

Our political system is broken. It has failed its people and its purpose. But there is a way for you to show that you want change – by signing the POWER Pledge.

POWER2010 ran the UK’s largest ever democratic consultation. Tens of thousands of people were involved in identifying the people’s priorities for cleaning up and reforming our politics – and over 100,000 votes were cast. The five most popular reforms became the POWER Pledge. These are:

1. Introduce a proportional voting system

2. Scrap ID cards and roll back the database state

3. Replace the House of Lords with an elected chamber

4. Allow only English MPs to vote on English laws

5. Draw up a written constitution

To sign the POWER Pledge you don’t have to agree with all five reforms. All you have to do is back a majority of the ideas – and then join our call for a reforming Parliament that will act on them.

If you support at least three of these ideas I urge you to click the link below to sign the POWER Pledge”

Here are my answers:

1. Introduce a proportional voting system

I am not a supporter.  I continue to believe that the First Past the Post System is the least worst electoral system and maintains the constituency/elected representative effectively.

2. Scrap ID cards and roll back the database state

Yes, I support this.

3. Replace the House of Lords with an elected chamber

I am not a supporter of an elected second chamber.  One factor that is not considered in this debate is that much of the electorate has voter fatigue and the way we are going there will be elections of some kind every year.  The outcome I want to see is a second chamber that is effective at scrutinising legislation and flushing out bad bills without challenging the supremacy of the Commons.  I also want people of various backgrounds who would not normally consider politics through electoral means, but have something to offer, enter the second chamber more often in the future.

4. Allow only English MPs to vote on English laws

Yes.  Of the five pledges, this is the one I support the strongest.  Labour have not addressed the West Lothian Question and this is not fair or sustainable.

5. Draw up a written constitution

I support replacing the Human Rights Act with something else so in that sense I can support this pledge.  This is one where I would stress that this is the best example of the five where I would enter any Chamber open to argument and persuasion.  As things stand, and to give you a clear and honest answer, I would support this and this represents a change of position from the one I held years ago where I preferred the traditional reliance on an uncodified constitution and conventions.

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3 Responses to “A Reforming Parliament”

  1. Nimish Says:

    Dear Mark,

    Please could you elaborate on what is meant by “English MPs”?

    • Mark Bowen Says:

      MPs who represent Parliamentary constituencies within England. If elected in Feltham and Heston, I would be an English MP even though I was born and raised in Wales.

  2. Nimish Says:

    Thanks for the clarification Mark.

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