End the election Fiasco

November 7, 2007 12:00 AM
Lucy Care wants an end to the fiasco of Prime Ministers deciding the election date

Fixed term parliaments would end fiascos like the election that never was in October

LIBERAL Democrats in Derby have called for the Prime Minister to be stripped of the power to decide the date of the general election.

Local campaigners want the length of a Parliament to be fixed at 4 years so that a Prime Minister cannot call a snap election at a time that gives his or her party an advantage.

Cllr Lucy Care said, "Residents of Derby were treated to the spectacle in early October of a country preparing for a general election. Gordon Brown had the power to call it and for a while he was ready to do so because he thought it was in the interest of his own party to do so.

"But he pulled back from firing the starting pistol only because he realised he would probably lose the election.

"The people should not be treated in this way. The Prime Minister should not have this huge amount of power to make decisions in his or her party's political interest rather than the national interest.

"Liberal Democrats in Derby strongly believe that each Parliament should last four years. The date of the general election should be set in law rather than by the Prime Minister.

"This is the case for elections to the Scottish Parliament and Welsh National Assembly. It should be the case for the UK Parliament as well. So I am pleased that Liberal Democrats MPs are pressing for this improvement.

"I am disappointed however that though government ministers have announced some constitutional changes recently, they are suggesting only the smallest of changes to the right to call an election. The government are proposing that the House of Commons should have the power to decide whether or not to call an election.

"That will mean that the ruling party, under the leadership of the Prime Minister, will have the opportunity to call an election when it is in their self interest to do so.

"Liberal Democrat MP David Howarth has proposed a new law calling for fixed term Parliaments. We are calling on Derby's Labour MPs to support this necessary change to avoid a repeat of the chaos residents witnessed earlier in October."