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Will Snoutgate lead to full blown constitutional reform?

By Mark Littlewood
May 20th, 2009 at 2:24 pm | 3 Comments | Posted in UK Politics

As Westminster takes its first, tentative steps towards a reform of MPs’ expenses, could full blown constitutional reform now be leveraged onto the agenda?

That’s the big challenge for Nick Clegg and the LibDems. Although modernising and democratising Britain has been a high priority for the party for decades – particularly securing electoral reform for the House of Commons – it has not been a major communications priority in recent years. The orthodox thinking has been that banging on about STV just does not resonate with the voters.

Has the zeitgeist just changed? Radio 5 this morning had an hour long phone-in on the topic. Hearing members of the public sounding genuinely impassioned about PR was bizarre – but encouraging. The Tories appear to have nothing to say on the matter – once the expenses regime is changed, and they are on  the government benches, they seem to think that the system is ‘fixed’.

The best case I’ve seen so far, linking the expenses scandal to our electoral system, was a wizard piece of research on Mark Reckons’ blog – he’s already been referenced by both Polly Toynbee and Guido Fawkes – an impressive straddle of the political divide.

Can the party come up with the same sort of elegant arguments to help make reform a major issue, rather than one seen as the particular preserve of ‘saddo’ LibDems?

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