Political change essential
Sir – It is increasingly becoming obvious that fundamental changes will have to be made in our Parliamentary system if the public is to retain any faith at all in our system of government. The events of the past few weeks and indeed those that are still
Sir - It is increasingly becoming obvious that fundamental changes will have to be made in our Parliamentary system if the public is to retain any faith at all in our system of government.
The events of the past few weeks and indeed those that are still emerging have dealt a serious blow to the future of British democracy.
Can I suggest a number of changes that might strengthen Westminster:-
1. Candidates should have to reside at least five years in the constituency that they hope to represent. This need for some permanency is a requirement for local councils and would see the ending of the nonsensical situation of an MP searching for a 'safe seat' when his previous one is lost.
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2 The ending of 'parachute payments' of up to �75,000, tax free, when an MP loses his seat. Most of us are not compensated when our job ends; why should outgoing MPs be treated differently?
3. An end to second homes for MPs. If their constituencies are too far from Westminster for them to to reach, then they should have to stay in designated residencies with agreed fixed rents.
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4. An end to party 'whips'. MPs should have to put forward the wishes of their constituents whether they agree or not. After all they are supposed to be the voice of the people. Any sincerely held feelings which a candidate feels he must adhere to should be voiced when applying for his candidacy to the local party.
5. Immigration, whether from Europe or elsewhere, has to be curtailed. Jobs are being lost as a result of immigration and causing animosity which the BNP has been quick to exploit. The separation between genuine refugees and economic migrants has been fudged.
6. Curtailing of members' trips abroad; so called 'fact-funding missions'. They should only occur if all expenses are paid by the members involved unless commissioned at the highest level.
7. Enabling local constituency parties to deselect existing MPs guilty of serious misdemeanours and the ability to call for by-elections in such cases.
8. Ending the present unfair system whereby candidates are listed in alphabetical order on voting forms thus giving considerable advantage to those who head the lists.
9. The situation as to the composition of the House of Lords has to be resolved immediately. I suggest, in future, it should comprise ex-judges, ex-MPs,ex-barristers, ex-captains of industry, etc. All to be elected by the general public.
Tony Wilder, Stonehills, WGC.