Last minute call for constitutional reform

Campaigners are urging two constitutional reforms be included in party manifestos. Votes at 16 and fixed term parliaments are today back on the agenda.

With the general election thought to be just a day away, campaigners are urging two constitutional reforms be included in party manifestos. Votes at 16 and fixed term parliaments are today back on the agenda.

The Demos think tank are calling for the voting age to be dropped to 16. Their website says:

“This extension of the franchise would add one million voters to the electoral rolls, the same as the number of new voters created by the Reform Act of 1867. Such a reform would take political courage. But the moral imperative is clear.”

According to the BBC, Demos director Richard Reeves said at 16 young people can work and pay tax, or even “take a bullet” for their country but cannot vote in an election.

Meanwhile, prospective parliamentary candidates (PPCs) are in strong agreement on the need to introduce fixed-term parliaments, according to findings from the general election policy comparison web initiative DEMREF 2010. 291 respondents up to 4 April 2010, 71 per cent support fixed terms, eight per cent oppose, and 21 per cent are undecided. Fixed-term parliaments are Liberal Democrat policy and Conservative leader David Cameron also trailed the idea last year in the aftermath of the expenses scandal.

DEMREF 2010 organiser Tony Samphier said:

“It’s still early days, but there seems to be a cross-party consensus emerging that fixed-terms are the way forward following the ‘election that never was’ in 2007. Public trust of politicians has hit rock bottom and this is just one of the democratic reforms that might help to restore voter confidence.”

The website also shows almost unanimous backing from candidates for greater use of free votes in parliament (91 per cent support) and finding a mechanism to recall MPs involved in serious wrongdoing (96 per cent open to the idea).

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