Friday, May 14, 2010

A Labour u-turn

Fixed term politics are good for democracy and good for stability. Uncertainty about the timing of the general election was not healthy for our democracy in 2007 or indeed earlier this year. And it wasn't good for the country in the early 1990s or in 1996-7. It is bad for democracy that a Prime Minister can choose the timing of an election to suite the political needs of the ruling party.

The improvements that fixed term politics bring are recognised across parties. That's why it was in the Labour manifesto. It seems bizarre therefore that Labour MPs are now attacking the concept of fixed term parliaments. Is this Labour's first post election u-turn?

And just a word about votes of confidence and getting rid of governments. The 55% vote is what is needed to dissolve the Commons and have an election. A simple majority will still be enough in a vote of confidence to vote out the government. What those proposing a vote of a no confidence vote will have to demonstrate is that there is an alternative government that can be put together from the existing Parliament.

Fix terms are a familiar concept within Britain anyway. They exist in all the existing devolved assemblies and in all councils. People accept that. Labour should stick by their manifesto commitment.
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