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Cleaning Up Westminster

While many changes are needed to restore trust, a proper codified British Constitution that clarifies how we are governed and restricts the power of politicians, would be a good start.

Unlike most modern nations, instead of a formally written constitution we have an unwritten one represented mostly by Acts of Parliament and mere conventions.

This is the reason why in 1972 the then British government was able to pass the European Communities Act and surrender much of our nation’s sovereignty to the European Union (then the European Economic Community) without consulting the British people first. This was morally wrong and should have been legally wrong too.

Politicians, often adopting a short-term self-interested view and opting not to reveal the entirety of their agenda, should be constrained by a fixed constitutional framework so they cannot change how we are governed on a whim.

Should a government wish to change such a new constitution, in order to change our status as an independent nation (post-Brexit) or the length of a government’s term in office for example, they would be forced to seek permission from the people first, rather than second or never at all.

We cannot directly change the laws that govern us, and so the politicians should not be permitted to directly change the laws that govern them.

A new constitution is needed to keep governments in check

The British Supreme Court would assess government proposed legislation, check to ensure it wouldn’t violate the constitution if enacted, and strike it down if it would.

Referendums should be binding – no more games by the losing side

Referendums are not opinion polls, they are delegations of direct decision-making power from Parliament to the people.

The voters that take part have the right to a basic assurance that their decision will be implemented without deliberate disruption, or worse, not implemented at all.

The referendum in 2016 on our membership of the European Union led to a result that an overwhelming majority of politicians in Parliament neither liked or respected.

Once the Supreme Court had subsequently ruled that the Government could not trigger our departure from the EU on its own authority, Parliament was required to vote through legislation granting that authority. The vote won a clear majority for proceeding but 114 MPs including the SNP, Plaid Cymru, the Liberal Democrats and 47 Labour MPs all voted against.

Where is the sense in politicians agreeing to delegate a major decision to the people, observe the people arriving at that decision, and then vote amongst themselves as to whether or not they should acknowledge the decision they agreed to delegate in the first place?

Future referendums must be legally binding. Once the entire country has been invited to vote on a given matter and a collective decision has been reached, morally, there is no higher authority, and legally there shouldn’t be either.

As we reclaim our nation’s sovereignty by exiting the European Union, now is an opportune time to renew and expand our ancient Bill of Rights to strengthen and galvanise our sense of our national identity.

First and foremost, we need to take back ownership of our inalienable and historic rights.

Our rights ought to be ours to determine democratically. At present, thanks to the Human Rights Act (1998), our rights are ultimately determined by unelected judges of the European Court of Human Rights. This is grossly contradictory to the principles of our radical ancestors from earlier centuries, where rights belong to citizens as a defence against the power of the state, not to a distant unaccountable foreign court that constantly re-scopes our liberty and freedoms.

Moreover, if our current rights legislation was fit for purpose, we wouldn’t be seeing the disintegration of the freedom of speech that is happening today. A renewed Bill of Rights must have an indisputable guarantee for the right to free speech, with as few exceptions as possible (causing offence not included), just as the United States rightly does.

Our renewed Bill of Rights should encompass our historic rights such as those reflected by Magna Carta (1215), Petition of Right (1628), Habeas Corpus (1679) and the Bill of Rights (1689).

Going further, we advocate the right to healthcare for those with British citizenship. Reflecting a modern-day consensus this would contribute towards the formal definition of our character as a nation.

Bill of Rights – Sovereign nations define their own citizens’ rights

Voting reform – Breaking the system that protects the Tory-Labour duopoly

Our current voting system, which determines the MPs from which party will sit in Parliament after an election, grants a huge advantage to the main two parties and ultimately misrepresents the choice made by the people.

Presently when we vote the process is very simple. We choose a candidate on the ballot paper, the votes are counted, and whom ever wins the most votes wins the election.

Formally known as “First Past The Post(FPTP), the system’s simplicity is attractive but old fashioned. It protects the traditional ‘big two’ parties regardless as it severely disadvantages smaller parties who can also succeed in obtaining popular support.

A recent notorious example was the 2015 general election. A pre-cursor to ‘Brexit’, UKIP collected a total of 3,881,099 votes which was 12.6% of the overall vote. But that large number of people were in the end represented by just 1 Member of Parliament. The Conservative Party’s vote however, for example, which was 11,334,226 (36.9%), translated into 331 MPs. This meant that for this party only 34,242 votes on average were required for each Member of Parliament, as opposed to nearly 4 million for another.

Representation inside Parliament should be more reflective of popular support. The British people are tired of the over-simplified narrow politics of two parties. We must move to a proportional voting system that grants the people the genuine option of seeking an alternative outlet to represent them.

Referendums triggered by petition – empowering the people

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Cap on donations – big money distorts our democracy

Scrap public funding for parties – they should raise their own money

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In Summary

Introduce a formally written constitution stipulating the principles and processes by which we are governed, and empower the Supreme Court to strike down any proposed incompatible legislation

Require a two thirds majority in both houses of Parliament and majority support from home nation assemblies and parliaments to approve constitutional change

For major constitutional change such as national sovereignty, devolution and election process for example, additionally require majority popular support obtained via a national referendum

Make all future referendums legally binding

Scrap the Human Rights Act (1998) and determine our own civil rights as a sovereign country with a new Bill of Rights

Introduce a proportional voting system for future general and local elections

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About Us

We are a group of grassroots activists working within our own personal resources seeking to make a positive difference for our local communities and our country.

With politics so detached from the people, we are pro-Brexit and want a better deal for the people. We value in particular national self-government, the empowerment of citizens and individual freedom and opportunity.

Promoted by Gerald O'Brien, the Party Chairman, on behalf of the Foundation Party both at 71-75 Shelton Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2H 9JQ.

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