Clegg promises ‘power revolution’

Nick Clegg

Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg will pledge the "biggest shake-up of our democracy" in 178 years later as he expands on plans for political reform.

The Tory-Lib Dem coalition deal backs plans for fixed-term parliaments, more elected peers and a referendum on changing the voting system.

In a speech, Mr Clegg will pledge to restore faith in politics.

Mr Clegg is also expected to call on the public to nominate laws they think should be repealed.

But in an interview with the Times newspaper, the Liberal Democrat leader defended the Human Rights Act – which the Tories have previously pledged to scrap – saying "any government would tamper with it at its peril".

The government has said a commission will be formed to review the act, having previously promised to replace it with a "British Bill of Rights".

The workings of the act have again been called into question after two terrorist suspects successfully appealed against being deported to Pakistan, after arguing they faced torture or death in their home country.

Mr Clegg, who was made deputy PM in the coalition government and is overseeing political reform plans, will give a speech from 1100 BST.

DNA storage

According to pre-released extracts, he will say the government would "transform our politics so the state has far less control over you, and you have far more control over the state".

This would include scrapping the ID card scheme and accompanying National Identity Register, all future biometric passports and the children’s Contact Point Database and ensuring CCTV was "properly regulated" and restricting the storage of innocent people’s DNA.

Mr Clegg will say: "I’m talking about the most significant programme of empowerment by a British government since the great enfranchisement of the 19th Century.

"The biggest shake up of our democracy since 1832, when the Great Reform Act redrew the boundaries of British democracy, for the first time extending the franchise beyond the landed classes."

He added: "Incremental change will not do. It is time for a wholesale, big bang approach to political reform."

He will also accuse the previous government of "obsessive lawmaking" and pledge to "get rid of the unnecessary laws" and "introduce a mechanism to block pointless new criminal offences".

He will also pledged to ask the public "which laws you think should go" as they "tear through the statute book".

Mr Clegg will add: "This government is going to persuade you to put your faith in politics once again."

In the House of Commons, the newly elected MPs will begin the swearing-in process which is expected to last into Thursday. The most senior MP goes first – MPs can take a religious oath or a secular affirmation of loyalty to the Crown.

They returned to the Commons briefly on Tuesday to elect the Speaker – John Bercow was reappointed to the role without a vote, despite a handful of objections.

The serious business of the Parliament gets under way next week, with the Queen’s Speech – outlining the coalition’s legislative agenda for the year – taking place on Tuesday.

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

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