Andy Burnham calls for an end to current whips system to give MPs more freedom

Calling for a ‘rewiring of Britain’, he said: “‘The reason we’ve got such an unequal country is because power is very unequally held and used in the UK. That’s why I say we have to rewire the country so that power flows around all places.”

Andy Burnham

The Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has called for an end to the current whips system, claiming that ‘Westminster makes a fraud of good people, as it makes you vote in certain ways you don’t agree with’ or say certain things you don’t want.

Burnham made the comments during an appearance at a fringe event organised by the centre for cities at the Labour Party conference, where he set out a range of radical proposals for reforming how power is distributed in Britain.

Calling for a ‘rewiring of Britain’, he said: “‘The reason we’ve got such an unequal country is because power is very unequally held and used in the UK. That’s why I say we have to rewire the country so that power flows around all places.”

He also said part of that rewiring couldn’t be done without backing proportional representation (PR) in the Commons and said he would ‘encourage the shadow cabinet to tune into that debate’. It comes after party delegates overwhelmingly backed a motion yesterday evening to back PR.

He went on to add that the first past the post electoral system and the current whips system which ensures MPs toe the party line, meant power was concentrated in a few hands as a result, adding that the whips system ‘disempowers the regions’.

He asked: “Why do MPs have to be martialled like schoolchildren and told to vote a certain way”, claiming that getting rid of the current system would give MPs more freedom and mean they would be better able to serve their communities who they were elected to represent.

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