Giving Citizens a Voice in Parliament: your help needed!

I’m attempting to get a motion on the agenda of the Liberal Democrat conference in Bournemouth this autumn. The motion itself speaks for itself (see below).

If you support it, and are a voting representative for conference this autumn, please can you email me (to semajmaharg[at]gmail[dot]com) the following details:

  • Your name
  • Your address
  • Your membership number
  • The local party you are a voting representative of (or LDYS as appropriate)

I need everyone’s details as soon as possible as the deadline for submissions is 12 noon on Wednesday 21 May.

Many thanks!

Giving Citizens a Voice in Parliament

Conference notes:
a. In the government’s 2007 Governance of Britain Green Paper, it proposed to “improve direct democracy” yet has failed to produce substantive proposals on how it plans to do this in over a year.
b. Liberal Democrat-run councils such as Kingston have lead the way in developing more participatory forms of decision making. The party outlined a number of proposals for rolling out best practice nationwide in its September 2007 policy paper The Power to Be Different.

Conference believes that giving the public a greater say in policy making and a right to petition elected representatives at all levels of government could enhance representative democracy by providing accountability and clearer lines of communication between elected representatives and their constituents.

Conference therefore calls for:
1. A Petitioning System Fit for the 21st Century: the system for petitioning Parliament should be simplified and it should be possible to submit petitions online. Parliament should develop a system to formally consider all petitions submitted to it and take action where appropriate. Any resident or expatriate of the UK or a British Overseas Territory would have a right to petition Parliament in this way, including children.
2. People’s Bills: whereby the six legislative proposals that received the most petition signatures from registered voters in any given year would be guaranteed a second reading debate in the House of Commons.
3. A People’s Veto: all Acts of Parliament would be subject to a rule whereby, if one million registered voters petitioned against it within 60 days of the law being passed, a referendum would have to be held on whether or not to repeal it.
4. A Responsive Electoral System: elect both Houses of Parliament using single transferable vote in multi-member constituencies (STV). Unlike other electoral systems, STV gives the voter choice between candidates from a particular party, as well as choice between parties. No other system is as good at taking politics out of the backrooms and into the daylight.
5. A Citizen’s Convention: an independent convention to review how to improve the governance of the UK. At least 51% of the Convention’s membership would be made up of randomly selected members of the public. The government would be required by law to co-operate with the Convention in implementing its findings and hold consultative referendums where necessary.

Due to the clear need for security when implementing such measures, Conference reiterates its call for individual voter registration. Submitting petitions in support of People’s Bills and to veto legislation should be subject to the same level of scrutiny as nominating candidates for election.

UPDATE: Motion duly submitted this morning. Thanks to everyone who sponsored it!

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