No need to rush into UK voting referendum-Straw (FWD)

Thu Nov 5 17:05:00 PST 1998

Typical response from a minority rule tyrant- delay any democratic (indirect
majority rule) reforms.
No need to rush into UK voting referendum-Straw

LONDON, Nov 5 (Reuters) - The British government sees no need for a swift
referendum on plans to overhaul the electoral system, Home Secretary Jack
Straw said on Thursday. 

Opening a parliamentary debate on the Jenkins Commission report recommending a
switch to a semi-proportional system, Straw said the government similarly felt
no pressure to take an early view of the merits of the proposals. 

``The government will not rush into holding a referendum,'' Straw said. ``We
shall want to study these proposals very carefully.'' 

He confirmed that the government intended to allow the British people to
decide between the Jenkins proposal and the first-past-the-post system
currently used to elect the 659 members of the House of Commons. 

But he said it was no longer certain that this plebiscite would take place
before the next general election, due by mid-2002. 

One reason for delay was that it would be impossible for the Jenkins system to
be in place in time for that election. 

Another was that the government wanted to see how other constitutional
changes, such as the establishment of parliaments for Scotland and Wales and
reform of the House of Lords, worked out in practice. 

``We will need to see how these arrangements bed down,'' he said. 

Under the proposals from the Commission, chaired by Liberal Democrat Lord Roy
Jenkins, between 80 and 85 percent of MPs would be elected for single member
constituencies using the preferential Alternative Vote. 

The remainder of seats would go to parties which failed to win a fair
proportion of single-member seats within a region compared with the votes cast
for them. 

13:07 11-05-98 

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