Political Reform

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In every community, there are people who may have the vision and capacity to change their neighbourhood, their country, even our whole
economy or society, for the better. But many of them may never get the chance, or may never even cast a ballot. Too often all they have heard
about mainstream politics makes them feel that it is not for someone like them.

When the Tory-led Government came to power in 2010, they promised a fresh start and a different kind of politics. Yet four years on, the reality
is clear: instead of opening up politics, they have closed it down; instead of reaching out, they have appealed to narrow, sectional interests as
they become more dependent on funding from hedge funds and a small number of rich donors. And whenever they have been given an opportunity to rebuild trust and restore faith in our democracy, they have taken the side of the powerful, rather than the people. Their use of a Lobbying Act to attempt to gag charities and campaigners, and smear trade unions, while letting powerful vested interests off the hook, shows where David Cameron’s priorities lie.

Too many people are struggling with a country that often feels like it doesn’t work for them, and too many no longer believe that politics is the
answer to their problems. If we are not careful that will be the epitaph of our time – that people stopped believing that politics could change their
lives for the better.

Ours is a mission to restore faith in our politics. We need to engage more young people in politics and civic life, while achieving greater diversity
at all levels of governance. We aim to restore trust in Parliament and its members, and reform the institutions of our politics to bring people in
not shut them out. And we will devolve power from Westminster down to our nations, city and county regions, and to local communities.

• Give 16 and 17 year olds the vote.
• Repeal the Lobbying Act, and create a statutory register of lobbyists.
• Take the big money out of politics by capping individual donations to parties.
• Replace the House of Lords with a Senate of the Nations and Regions.
• Pass an English Devolution Act, handing £30 billion of resources, and powers over skills, transport, economic development to city and county regions.
• Implement the Smith Commission’s package of further devolution to Scotland.
• Put devolution to Wales on a stronger statutory basis, as in Scotland.
• Reform the Commons to better hold the Government to account and strengthen the public’s voice on legislation.

• 7.5 million eligible voters are missing from the electoral register, with a further 5.5 million at risk of dropping off due to
the reckless way the Government is implementing individual electoral registration.
• Less than 15 per cent of voters turned out for the 2012 Police and Crime Commissioner elections.

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