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Articles about ‘Political reform’

Solidarity – A View from South of the Border

As the Referendum on Scottish Independence has got closer, the words “solidarity” and “self- determination” have come into my head time and time again. I guess like many on the Left in England, for a long time I reckoned my commitment to principle of self-determination meant that I should hold back. Surely, I thought, independence was a matter for people in Scotland to decide, not something for me as an English MP to “stick my oar in”. I still believe my instincts were one hundred per cent about who should decide on Scottish independence; self-determination means just that. But I have changed my mind about whether I, as an English MP, should say something.

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The “Dog’s Breakfast” Bill

Scores of local people have contacted me over the past week to share their concerns on the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill, which received its second reading in the House of Commons on Tuesday 3 September.

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So what about that pay rise for MPs, then?

A few weeks ago, a constituent contacted me asking why I was seeking a £10,000 pay rise for MPs. My answer was simple: I had not done so and I am not doing so. MP’s do not set our own pay. MPs’ salaries are decided by a body which is completely independent of Parliament called IPSA – the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.

So what do I think about it? First, when people are feeling the pinch in the way people in Birmingham are feeling it right now, it’s not the right time for IPSA to bring in a pay rise like this. MPs’ pay must reflect wider economic circumstances and what is happening in the rest of the public sector. It must be consistent with what is happening to nurses, teachers and others in the public sector as well as conditions in the private sector. We must show that we “get” what people are saying to us and that we don’t consider ourselves to be “a breed apart” from the people we represent.

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Introducing AV is a small change – but it could have a big impact

For me, securing a yes vote in the referendum is about helping to create a more open and participatory politics. A lot of people in this country find politics a really big turn-off – and I can understand why. They want to see a change in the way politics is done. I do too. Read more

Richard announces the publication of the Review of Voting Systems by the APPG on Electoral Reform

As the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Electoral Reform I am very pleased to be able to announce the publication of the Review of Voting Systems (Condensed) which the Group has just published with the help of the Electoral Reform Society.

The APPG on Electoral Reform exists to foster discussion on, and support the cause of, electoral reform. I am keen that it is voters themselves, and not just politicians, who debate our democracy and our voting system. In January of this year the Government published their own Review of Voting Systems – we welcomed this but were concerned by the lack of public debate and awareness surrounding it.

This report by the APPG considerably condenses the Government document, accurately presenting its findings as well as offering our own view on the way forward. Read more