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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 July, 2005, 14:16 GMT 15:16 UK
Reform constitution says Cameron
David Cameron
David Cameron has been making a series of speeches
Tory frontbencher David Cameron is calling for widespread constitutional reforms, including more independence for MPs and a mostly-elected Lords.

The Conservative leadership hopeful will make his remarks during a speech to the Carlton Club on Tuesday.

He will warn against "false modernisation", saying the Commons has lost power to the government.

"To the public politicians all seem the same, they break their promises," the Tory education spokesman will warn.

He will say that although Parliament does much of its job "very well" there were "procedural changes" that could bring it to the centre of national life.

He wants fixed-term parliaments so it is not left to the prime minister alone to decide the timing of general elections.

Seriously wrong?

Mr Cameron will tell his party not "to let its reverence for our institutions translate into a dignified silence about constitutional reform".

"Instead we must focus on what is seriously wrong," he will say.

"The failure to scrutinise laws effectively, the power of the whips and patronage, a second chamber, which performs well in so many ways, but which has been left in limbo and the unchecked growth of government by bureaucrats - in Britain and in Brussels."

Mr Cameron says voters believe MPs tend to do what they are told rather what they think is right and he wants "more opportunity for cross-party alliances".

He suggests select committees, which scrutinise the work of government departments, should be elected by backbenchers and not chosen by the party whips.

Strengths and weaknesses

And he calls for the dilution of government control of the Commons timetable, limits on the numbers of bills that can be introduced and restrictions on numbers of ministers and special advisers.

He is also pushing for "sunset clauses" which would mean new laws and regulations automatically have to be revisited after fixed periods of time.

Mr Cameron says life peers and the remaining hereditary peers make an "invaluable contribution" to debates in the House of Lords.

But he will argue "real legitimacy in politics flows from elections, and we in the Conservative Party must make clear our commitment to a majority elected house".

He will add: "As Conservatives we should work with what we have, recognise its strengths and address its weaknesses.

"As Disraeli put it: 'I am Conservative to preserve all that is good in our constitution; a radical to remove all that is bad'".


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