London: As part of what is billed as the
`biggest shake-up` of Britain`s democracy in 178 years, the
new coalition government on Wednesday promised to allow people to
recall MPs, tear up laws, a fixed-term parliament and a
referendum on a new system of conducting elections.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who is in charge
of political reform in the Conservative-Liberal Democrats
coalition, said the proposed reform of the political
infrastructure will be the biggest since the 1832 Great Reform
Clegg said: "I`m talking about the most significant
programme of empowerment by a British government since the
great enfranchisement of the 19th Century.
The biggest shake up of our democracy since 1832,
when the Great Reform Act redrew the boundaries of British
democracy, for the first time extending the franchise beyond
the landed classes.
He added: "Incremental change will not do. It is time
for a wholesale, big bang approach to political reform."
Accusing previous Labour governments of indulging
in "obsessive lawmaking", he called upon the British public to
suggest which laws they would like to get rid of.
He also promised to introduce a mechanism to block
pointless new criminal offences.
Clegg`s reform proposals include: Partially elected
House of Lords, scrapping the ID card scheme and the national
identity register, libel to be reviewed to protect freedom of
speech, and limits on the rights to peaceful protest to be
Clegg said: "This government is going to persuade
you to put your faith in politics once again. We don`t, unlike
Labour, believe that change in our society must be forced from
Unlike the previous Labour government, we`re not
insecure about relinquishing control."
Senior Labour leader Alan Johnson accused Clegg of
using "rampant hyperbole" and said: "If he wants to ask the
public which laws to get rid of, he should also ask which laws
they would like to keep."