Conservative Diary

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What democratic reforms should emerge from expenses-gate?

GoldenGoodbyes It's not often that The Daily Mail, Mirror and The Independent all agree but all three newspapers have the MPs' 'golden goodbye' story on their front pages.

The Mail notes that each MP will qualify for 'parachute' payments of up to £129,532 if they stand down at the next election rather than now.

I have already argued for voters to be given the power to recall MPs in between elections if, in their mind, their local representative forfeits the right to continue as an honourable member.  There should be high thresholds for the triggering of a recall election (David Green has suggested signatures from 20% of local voters) but, if passed, it should mean that MPs' compensation is at least curtailed.  What other democratic reforms would you like to emerge from this crisis?  David Cameron set out his thinking on Tuesday.

Here are five ideas of my own to get the discussion going...

  1. The power for MPs voters to be able to sack/ recall MPs mid-term;
  2. A 20% reduction in the number of MPs;
  3. A renegotiation of our relationship with Europe that will see key powers returned to Westminster;
  4. A 5% annual reduction in taxpayer funding of political parties until it is completely eliminated;
  5. A cap on donations to political parties of £10,000pa by 2015 to force parties to go to the people for their funds.  At the same time small donations should become tax deductible.

Tim Montgomerie


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