Labour PPCs pressure PM on electoral reform

Alex Smith

By Alex Smith / @alexsmith1982

34 Labour PPCs have signed a letter to Gordon Brown, calling for a referendum on electoral reform to be held on the day of the general election.

On the day of the Queen’s Speech, the candidates’ letter states:

“we do not believe that Labour will benefit at the next general election unless voters see that we are prepared to actually deliver a chance of real change.”

The letter was welcomed by Vote for a Change Director, Willie Sullivan who said:

“There is clearly a reform dividend for any party that is ready to deliver real change that will both provide fairness and deal with the mess surrounding MPs expenses. The way to do this is to change the way MPs get their jobs. Politicians need to be serious about changing their politics.”

Dear Gordon,

We welcome your conference announcement that the next Labour manifesto would contain a commitment to hold a referendum on electoral reform marks a welcome recognition that the people must be given a say in the way their representatives are elected.

However, while this offer is made in good faith, we do not believe that Labour will benefit at the next general election unless voters see that we are prepared to actually deliver a chance of real change. Given the depth of public cynicism towards politicians then – without demonstrable proof of intent – it will be regarded as just another paper promise.

A referendum on polling day on a system that delivers real voter choice would see hundreds of Liberal Democrats switching to Labour, hundreds more stay-at-home Labour supporters coming out to vote for the government and every Tory opponent on the back foot trying to explain why the failed old system is worth keeping and why Cameron wouldn’t give the people a say. So we just need to switch the date and fulfill our 1997 manifesto pledge.

The ideal situation for Labour and for British democracy would be to hold the referendum on the same day as the next election. A government bill could facilitate this and there is also the opportunity to amend the Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill to legislate for a future date for the referendum. Subject to detail, we will be supporting such an amendment.

Yours sincerely,

Kathryn White
Aylesbury

Ian Saunders
Beverley and Holderness

Sharon Carr-Brown
Bournemouth West

John Piasecki
Bracknell

Simon Brugess
Brighton Kemptown

Nancy Platts
Brighton Pavilion

Jude Robinson
Camborne and Redruth

Daniel Zeichner
Cambridge

Julian Ware-Lane
Castle Point

Alex Hilton
Chelsea and Fulham

Damien Welfare
Chipping Barnet

Cath Arakelian
Chingford and Woodford Green

Dave Rowntree
Cities of London & Westminster

Colin Swindell
Derbyshire Dales

Pat Merrick
Eddisbury

Liam Robinson
Fylde

Tim Shand
Guildford

Darren Barrenger
Harwich and North Essex

Robert Smith
Havant

Steve Terry
Hertford & Stortford

Andrew Skudder
Horsham

Stephen Twigg
Liverpool West Derby

Swatantra Nandanwar
Maldon

John Tizard
Mid Bedfordshire

Andrew Pakes
Milton Keynes North

Michael Castle
Norfolk South

Stephen Morgan
Orpington

Jack Scott
Sheffield Hallam

Jon Tandy
Shrewsbury and Atcham

James Normington
Sleaford and North Hykeham

Matthew May
South Northamptonshire

Kevin Bonavia
Southend East

Tom Flynn
Southend West

James Alexander
York Outer

Derek Wyatt, the MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey also signed the letter.

Signatories to this letter were gathered with the assistance of Progress and the Labour Campaign for Electoral Reform.

Hat-tip to Liberal Conspiracy and Progress.

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