Don't waste a crisis - seize the day says Caroline Lucas

27 May 2009

Caroline Lucas has called for a full shake-up to make parliament 'look like the people it represents.'

The Green MEP said we had a ‘once in a generation opportunity' to tackle not just scandalous rules for MPs' expenses but a ‘rotten' and unfair system.

Dr Lucas said: "I do believe that there really is a once in a generation opportunity here: that there is so much anger, not just about the expenses issue, but about the way that's symbolic of a Parliamentary system that is pretty rotten."

"If you look at how unrepresentative the people are who supposedly represent us in Westminster, the very few numbers of women, the very few numbers of ethnic minorities, and the fact that that there are so many safe seats, it's no wonder that so many people just don't think it's worth voting anymore."

The Green Party leader has joined economists, authors, artists and politicians in calling for a referendum on introducing a proportional voting system to replace the discredited ‘first past the post' model.

She said: "I want a parliament that looks like the people it is supposed to represent. That would not only be more representative, and democratic, it would mean an end to safe seats - and that in turn would mean less abuse of the system.

Dr Lucas said there was a correlation between those in those very safe seats, and those who are most likely to be abusing the system.
"Basically, they have felt very complacent," she said. "We need to shake that up."

Dr Lucas added: "We don't need to just deal with the expenses system, awful though that is.
"We really need a root and branch transformation of our Parliament, so people can feel proud about it again, so that public life is something honourable again - it certainly isn't today - so the whole parliamentary system is alive again.
"Politics needs to be much more vibrant, much more alive. This is a real opportunity to do that."

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