Page last updated at 20:44 GMT, Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Bradshaw in electoral reform call

Ben Bradshaw
Mr Bradshaw has been unhappy with the BBC's coverage

The government could hold a referendum on electoral reform on the same day as the next general election, Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw has said.

He claimed the timing was still open for discussion despite Prime Minister Gordon Brown's pledge of a plebiscite "early" in the next Parliament.

It would be "a missed opportunity" not to have a referendum on election day, Mr Bradshaw told the New Statesman.

He said he had "not given up" on changing Mr Brown's mind.

The prime minister has suggested a referendum on bringing in the "alternative vote" system to elect MPs.

'People power'

Under this system, voters list candidates in number order and the votes of the least popular are redistributed until one has secured 50% or more.

At the Labour Party conference Mr Brown said this should happen "early in the next Parliament".

Currently the candidate who wins the most votes in any constituency becomes the MP.

Mr Bradshaw said he had not "given up completely" on changing the prime minister's mind on the timing of a referendum on reform.

But he added that the choice should go beyond the AV system to include other possible systems.

Mr Bradshaw said: "If one of the reasons that we want reform is to rebuild public trust and confidence in politics, make MPs more accountable, give more power to people, and to establish a political and a parliamentary system that more reflects the will of the public, then AV doesn't deliver that."

He also said: "I think it would be a missed opportunity not to have a referendum on election day."

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