The Observer has revealed that Health Secretary Alan Johnson is a belated convert to proportional representation as one of the means of politicians getting out of what seems to be a terminal mess:
Alan Johnson, the health secretary, has joined a cabinet push for a major overhaul of the way Britain is governed, in what will be seen by MPs as the start of a leadership bid.
His backing for electoral reform – which would mean scrapping the first-past-the-post system on which Westminster MPs are elected in favour of some form of proportional representation (PR) – came as John Denham, the skills secretary, also let it be known that he favours considering a number of “radical steps”, including electoral reform.
The move is seen as a potential way of restoring trust between voters and parliament and drawing a line under the expenses scandal. Electoral reform could make it easier to remove MPs who have transgressed, although its detractors argue that it risks benefiting the BNP, Ukip and other fringe parties.
Interesting. I still wouldn’t vote for Johnson though, as he still stands for everything I hate about New Labour. Why support him for believing in constitutional reform if he’s still a supporter of the most illiberal excesses of his party? I think the Observer is right in seeing it as the opening salvo in a leadership bid, then again if he were the leader of a Labour/Lib Dem coalition, wouldn’t the worst New Labour excesses essentially be ended as a price for coalition? Politics finally starts getting interesting again…