Comments and feedback on Local Constituency Pact

As promised in last weeks blog, here is a selection of feedback on the working draft of the Local Constituency Pact, a copy of which you can see here. This is a sample of comments which have been anonymised since much of the feedback was via email or direct messaging. There is also a section at the end on what people see as missing from the Constituency Pact.

Language and presentation

“It  needs to be even more succinct. No separate sections. All points to be enclosed within the bullet point, without the need for additional explanation. Ten short bullet points.And if it is about proportional representation it can’t be shy about it.” -JS

 “So vague and woolly….” – MR

“It seems well worded and thought out. I can’t think of anything to add or subtract and would personally have no problem signing it.”RB

Part one: MP’s code of conduct

“An MP cannot represent *me the voter*. MP must represent the best interests of the constituency.There are people around who think an MP should “do as they’re told” by constituents. These people need to think really hard and figure out why that’s impossible.MPs are elected to represent their constituency. They are not delegates….” PT

“I really can’t see that any candidate could not sign this. I like the idea of an annual meeting. Would you have other formal monitoring in place and request a report – which could just be links to relevant debates? Overall, I think it is straightforward, simple to understand and actually revolutionary as there is just a tendency to elect them and then accept that they represent us…” LS

“It’s a very one-sided ‘compact’. What would ‘we’ be giving the candidate? No mention of ‘we would like to support a candidate who …’ ” PL

“My main comment would be that it perhaps should be co-produced with the MP or MPs concerned to help achieve buy-in to the concept in the hope he/she/they might then agree to sign it….” RM

“The first section seems pretty much spot-on to me. I think that we could hope that decent constituency MPs of any hue would feel “under pressure” to meet these requirements. (Might there also be a section about how the MP conducts him/herself online?)”    AS  

Part two: community empowerment and strong local government

“This section, I am less sure about in that I think it speaks more to the Left of Centre and I don’t know how you would persuade those of a different political hue to sign up to it, thereby causing it to fall at the first hurdle.”AS

“I’m not at all sure that I want so much power to be in the hands of a local Council – which could, obviously, be of an undesirable political persuasion – without some considered and defined checks and balances” – NM

“I’ve always believed in Cornwall having its own assembly. The politics in this country is way outdated….Power should be given to local people here it’s the people who live in any area that truly know what problems that area have, not some bloke in a suit in London.”  – BR

“I strongly believe that Brexit will not in fact “restore” national sovereignty.  A hard Brexit would also be likely, I believe, to result in the UK being forced into damaging trade deals (e.g. with Trump) that would oblige us to lower our own legal standards (e.g. on environmental protection and workers’ rights) and would hence also damage our meaningful exercise of sovereignty.”  – TS

“Although I can’t see any of the major parties’ MPs agreeing to it, I agree it would be good to challenge them all with it. It is well-worded…I must confess to qualms concerning the nature of our local govt abilities and representation in Cornwall…”  -MB

Part 3 electoral reform

“Overall, I think this is a good idea…. I wonder whether it would be worth stressing the progressive majority at previous elections in the electoral reform section?” – JJ

– “I do not believe in PR.  I do not believe in voting for a party other than the one you believe in….I believe in strong local and regional government…”. – CG

“….. I strongly agree with political reform now more than in the past. Post Referendum in the light of Cambridge Analytica we know how easy it is to corrupt or cheat democracy using illegal data and fake news in marginals to swing the vote. This makes the first past the post no longer fit for purpose”. – AM

“I like the idea. It’s simple and I think most constituents would understand and back it, apart from Conservative voters perhaps. Whether nominees from the Conservative or Labour party would sign it and agree to electoral reform is another question” – JS

“…given the result of the PR referendum some years ago, there’s no earthly hope of getting Tory and Lab candidates to pledge to support PR. Better, I would think, to ask candidates to subscribe to principles, e.g. every vote should count, or PR at local level (for now), or maximum devolution to locality.”- PL

What’s missing

Cornish Minority status

“Interesting. I would like to see some recognition of how Cornish national minority status means Cornwall has its own bespoke devolution needs, rather than being just one part of wider local government reform. In my view our distinctive status as a minority is the biggest argument in favour of greater powers, and as a minority, Cornish MPs have a greater responsibility to ensure that we are heard in a UK context. If we dare not mention it, what use is it?” – YC

Climate change

“… with only 12 years left to do something to stop millions drowning and more millions migrating, what initiative can be serious without an environmental initiative included?” -JS:

“our biggest, yes biggest challenge is climate change – yes Brexit is important, as are all the other ministries in Govt, but climate change will affect us all, so I think that is has to be a pledge of its own.” – TR

NHS

“The NHS deserves a mention because it is so important to all of us.” – RS

 

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