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Will electoral reform proposals restore trust?

Gordon Brown has announced plans to examine a new system of voting MPs to the House of Commons. Will this restore voters’ trust?

The BBC’s Nick Robinson says ministers have already discussed possible replacements for the first past the post method. However, it is not clear what changes could be passed into law before Britain votes at a general election.

Mr Brown's proposals, which include a legally binding code of conduct for MPs, follow recent political scandals.

They also include plans for an independent authority to police MPs' expenses.

Will the proposals bring stability to British politics? Should we keep first past the post or is time for a new system? Do you have your own suggestions for political reform?

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Published: Wednesday, 10 June, 2009, 08:48 GMT 09:48 UK

All comments as they come in

Added: Thursday, 11 June, 2009, 09:33 GMT 10:33 UK

Don't be fooled by the transparently dishonest Mr Brown; this reform is merely to tip the scales in his favor at the coming general election and that's why he wants it 'on statute' quickly.
As things stand, he knows he hasn't a prayer of getting Nu-Lab re-elected so he is now reverting back to type to try and find a crafty way to boost their vote.
As we all know, this man is not to be trusted and this 'reform' provides further evidence of this - as if any more was needed!

James, Southminster

Recommended by 27 people

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Added: Thursday, 11 June, 2009, 09:33 GMT 10:33 UK

Well it makes a change from the usual re-launch of things – or does it?

Proportional Representation was included in the 1992 Labour Manifesto and forgotten by the time they got power in 1997.

Reform of the House of Lords was in the 1997 Labour Manifesto then abandoned after a bit of cosmetic tinkering.

No! Its the same old Gordon Brown treating the Electorate with contempt!

[greyhillbilly], Blairgowrie, United Kingdom

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Added: Thursday, 11 June, 2009, 09:31 GMT 10:31 UK

It is just another ruse to deflect the headlines from the poor job he has been doing. When will he really change? Is it possible for him to be truthful about cutbacks that are necessary? It is worrying watch Labour MPs just attacking the Tories and not spelling out their own policies. What is really happening? I believe cutbacks are already taking place but have not been announced. This is not an open Government.

jcopleston, uk

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Added: Thursday, 11 June, 2009, 09:30 GMT 10:30 UK

Isn't it 'odd' that all of a sudden 'swift' changes are made? I doubt very much that any of this is in favour of the electorate but rather a distraction from the fact that our rights have already been stripped away by joining the dubious EU and the reality of the 'change' that will soon come upon us, in the form of a facist world goverment. The truth is, there is no power in No.10 and therefore no need for MP's, hence we [the people] must put up and shut up. Just another facade.

Lord, Luton

Recommended by 8 people

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Added: Thursday, 11 June, 2009, 09:23 GMT 10:23 UK

My suggestion for political reform is to make sure an unelected man/woman cannot become Prime minister ever again.

If nothing else Gordon has highlighted why we have elections, its to do with popularity.
Previous unelected Prime ministers were also very unpopular such as John Major, and he also failed dismally too.
What can we learn from this? 'Don’t allow the unelected to become the Prime minister of this once great country. Simple! but I bet he wont change that.

Westminster Mafia-no thanks, Brizzle, United Kingdom

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Added: Thursday, 11 June, 2009, 09:23 GMT 10:23 UK

They won't achieve a thing

As long as the ballot paper is a choice of individual names and parties the system will always be corrupted somehow!

The only change necessary for the voting system is for the ballot paper to be a questionairre on alternative policies regarding economic, health, education, foreign policy etc and to vote accordingly on what they think is right! This will encourage thought and prevent voters voting for one candidate or party simply because of immigration etc !

Nick Vinehill, Snettisham, United Kingdom

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Added: Thursday, 11 June, 2009, 09:22 GMT 10:22 UK

Trust could be restored by a government that actually carries out policies that the electorate really want. Too often they sneak in controversial policies that they claim they "have a mandate for" when they are only in power because they were a little more popular than the other parties. It would also restore trust if they would stop using Statutory Instruments to avoid debate in the House and for the electorate only to find out when the are enacted.

John White, Huntingdon, United Kingdom

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Added: Thursday, 11 June, 2009, 09:20 GMT 10:20 UK

At the present time all we are witnessing is Gordon Brown floating ideas, Labour was never going to revisit PR after what happened in Scotland and Wales and the very fact that they consider it now is based on a desperate bid to survive major damage at the next election.

What we will now see is the abandonment of what might be good for the country and the remaining months of this Government trying to save itself. The fact is this cleanup act cannot be achieved in the time left to Parliament.

John Howes, Dartmoor, United Kingdom

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Added: Thursday, 11 June, 2009, 09:18 GMT 10:18 UK

If someone wants to get into politics, it's quite possible to serve the community locally without being elected to formal office. Our local candidates prove this.
The fact is that people are fighting tooth and nail to get to parliament show it's more than just a wish to serve the community. It's a desire for power and the trappings of power.

And how can you trust someone driven by a hunger for power?

[RolryRoly]

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Added: Thursday, 11 June, 2009, 09:16 GMT 10:16 UK

I despair at the deluded and prejudiced opinions that are being posted here. We seem to be our own sheep and our own shepherds.
Economic experts outside of our country are hailing Brown as a genius for his efforts and blueprints for getting us through the current financial situation that has been exasperated by the media. He may have not only saved the UK from things getting much worse, but saved the world from an economic disaster.
We're getting through this and it's because of Gordon!

Simon Attwood

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Added: Thursday, 11 June, 2009, 09:06 GMT 10:06 UK

It is all talk & very little action, just delaying tactics. I do not think that trust will be restored under this government.

If Gordon Brown really wants to listen to the public & debate petitions sent to No10 he should start with the top petition calling for him to resign

[Jobrite], Worthing

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Added: Thursday, 11 June, 2009, 09:05 GMT 10:05 UK

Cynics might say that this a ploy for Labour to cling on to power, and there might be some truth in that belief. However, reform is long overdue and can only help the electorate in the long term. With transferable voting, the elected MP will have at least 50% of the vote, which is an improvement of the 'first past the post' system at present, where an MP can be elected on a minority of the electorate. I believe a PR system will encourage more people to vote as they will feel more empowered.

[SelhurstPete]

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Added: Thursday, 11 June, 2009, 09:04 GMT 10:04 UK

I can't understand why so many people are going on about Gordon Brown being an "unelected PM". He is no less or more elected than any other PM.
There may be an argument that having the PM (along with other ministers and the speaker/chairman of the commons) be MPs interfers with their ability to represent their constituents.
Thus instead we should have an elected executive who are not MPs and have no legislative function. This would be a radical change.

Mark Evans, Exeter, United Kingdom

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Added: Thursday, 11 June, 2009, 09:04 GMT 10:04 UK

If government 'worked', we wouldn't need reform and we wouldn't need politicians.

However, it doesn't work, and so generation after generation of meddlers and bunglers continue to make life more and more difficult for those of us trapped in the middle ground.

The only reform we need is professionals running the country. Not self serving Members of Parliament who are also voting fodder for left or right.

ian williams, nottingham, United Kingdom

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Added: Thursday, 11 June, 2009, 09:04 GMT 10:04 UK

Proportional Representation is the only rational future for the UK voting system, because it is far more democratic than a first past the post system. Cameron is mad to accuse Brown of instituting this reform in 'because he fears he is goin g to loose' considering how well their party fared under this system in the EU elections.

Brown is right to do this in reaction to the expenses scandal, because it might encourage people to vote in the general election. It might chip away at the apathy.

Adam Kidd, Brighton

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