Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Why we need more MP's

A lot of the coverage of the plan to equalise the size of parliamentary constituencies has focused on the redrawing of boundaries producing bizarre results, the rebranding of parts of Salford as Manchester Central for example, but the more important point is the reduction in the number of MP's.

By reducing the number of MP's from 650 to 600, the government claims it is "making politics cheaper". That the redrawn boundaries will favour the Tories is clear and the Lib Dems must now be rueing their decision to support a plan that looks likely to see them mown down in even greater numbers than they would have been at the next election in return for a referendum on the voting system in which they were beaten into the ground by their coalition partners.

The principle of equal constituencies is of course obvious which is why the Chartists included it in their demands in 1838, along with full adult (albeit male) suffrage, secret ballots, payment of MP's and annual Parliaments (so that Cameron and Clegg would be facing the voters again this year).

If we want to make MP's more accountable, we should have more of them, introduce the right of constituents to replace them at any time by triggering a by-election and annual Parliaments and restrict their wages to that of an average worker.

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