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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 July 2007, 16:44 GMT 17:44 UK
Key points: Constitutional proposals
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has outlined wide-ranging proposals for constitutional reform. Here are the key points:

Mr Brown wants more people to vote, and has suggested changing the traditional weekday election to a weekend, as well as lowering the voting age from 18 to 16.

He suggested laws on demonstrating in Parliament Square should be changed. Consultation will be held with the Metropolitan Police, the Mayor of London, Westminster City Council and MPs.

He also said he would "encourage" the Commons to agree a new process for considering petitions from the public.

The PM highlighted 12 "important" areas where power held by the executive would be surrendered or limited "to make for a more open 21st century British democracy which better serves the British people". These are:

  • the power of the executive to declare war
  • the power to request the dissolution of Parliament
  • the power over recall of Parliament
  • the power of the executive to ratify international treaties without decision by Parliament
  • the power to make key public appointments without effective scrutiny
  • the power to restrict Parliamentary oversight of the intelligence services
  • the power to choose bishops
  • power in the appointment of judges
  • the power to direct prosecutors in individual criminal cases
  • power over the civil service itself
  • powers to determine the rules governing entitlement to passports
  • powers to determine the rules governing the granting of pardons

Mr Brown addressed other areas of constitutional reform, including:

  • Reducing the advance sight government departments have of the release of statistical information from as much as five days currently to 24 hours
  • A National Security Council would be created within government, "sending out a clear message that at all times we will be vigilant and we will never yield". A national security strategy will also be published regularly, setting out threats and objectives
  • There will be a statement before the summer recess on reform of the House of Lords
  • There will be an opportunity for MPs to vote on legislation flowing from the European Union amending treaty
  • He wants to extend the period of time during which parties can use all women shortlists for candidate selections and to give more time for all parties to take up this new right if they choose
  • He published a new Ministerial Code, with a new independent adviser whom the PM can ask to scrutinise ministerial conduct including conflicts of interest
  • Mr Brown called for a public debate on the case for a British Bill of Rights or a written constitution

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