Catherine responds to announcement of referendum date

The new MP for Newcastle North and member of the newly appointed Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee, Catherine McKinnell, has responded to the announcement by Nick Clegg, that a referendum on the voting system will be held on 5th May 2011.

‘Where the Lib-Con Government proposes measures that will strengthen Parliament and improve democracy, I will support them,’ said Ms McKinnell.

‘However, I will strongly resist any move to unfairly tilt the voting system to one party’s advantage. After today’s announcement, I am very concerned that this is what is being proposed.

‘Under the Lib-Cons, the number of MPs will be reduced from 650 to 600, disproportionately targeting Labour  held seats; Parliaments will be ‘fixed’ for 5 year terms, entrenching the coalition in power; and constituency boundaries will be re-sized to be numerically ‘more equal’, whilst leaving millions of unregistered voters without a voice.

‘As it stands, these policies run a real risk of making the Lib-Con coalition the first British government in history to introduce reforms that actually reduce rather than extend the franchise. It’s clearly ‘new politics’, just not the kind people had in mind’.