Questions on Constitutional Reform

Questions on Constitutional Reform

The Government

  • The Government wants to make an arbitrary cut in the number of parliamentary seats from 650 to 600 and will recalculate the majority of constituency boundaries based on a strict mathematical rule. This will change constituency boundaries in a way which disregards history, geography and local identity.
  • The Government wants to abolish public inquiries into decisions of the Boundary Commissions. This means the public will lose the opportunity for meaningful participation in the process and risks undermining the transparency and legitimacy of the existing system.
  • The Government want to redraw the boundaries on the basis of an electoral register which, according to the Electoral Commission, has up to 3.5million eligible voters missing from it. Rigid equalisation of seats in this way will mean millions of eligible voters – predominantly younger people and those from lower income groups – are ignored from the Boundary Commission calculations, distorting the results.
  • The Government want to introduce fixed term parliaments of 5 years duration. Most constitutional experts are agreed that four years is a more appropriate fixed term, and would better reflect the current constitutional position, historical practice and comparisons with other parliaments.

 

Questions for discussion

  • What role does reform of the electoral system play in constitutional reform?
  • How can we encourage greater political engagement?
  • How can we ensure more eligible people are registered to vote?
  • What action should we consider to achieve greater engagement and participation in politics by young people?
  • How do we continue to rebuild trust in politics?
  • What could be done to increase participation at all levels of our democracy?
  • What action could we consider to reduce the barriers to democratic participation in our society?
  • How can ensure that the next parliament is more representative of British society in 2015?
  • What steps should we consider to ensure we better distribute power between individuals, neighbourhoods, regions and the centre?

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