United Kingdom: Liberal Democrats call for more proportional parliamentary voting on English laws | The Guardian

A radical change to the voting system at Westminster, entailing parliamentary bills being passed in a more proportional way, should be introduced to resolve the row over English-only laws, the Liberal Democrats will say on Friday. In a Guardian article, the Lib Dem minister David Laws calls on the Tories to follow the example of the Labour party in setting aside “narrow partisan interest” to resolve the matter. The intervention by Laws comes as a fresh coalition row flared up after Nick Clegg accused Theresa May of making “false and outrageous” slurs against his party. She had claimed the Lib Dems were putting children’s lives at risk by blocking surveillance legislation, known by critics as the snooper’s charter.

United Kingdom: Britain holds scandal-tarred special election | Deseret News

Sex, lies and scandal — not the usual ingredients of a parliamentary special election in Britain. But Thursday’s contest for the southern English constituency of Eastleigh has been overshadowed by the torrid trials of the centrist Liberal Democrats, including the criminal conviction of a former Cabinet minister and allegations of sexual harassment against a senior party official. The election was called to fill the seat vacated by ex-Energy Secretary Chris Huhne, who resigned earlier this month after admitting that, a decade ago, he had asked his wife to take a speeding ticket for him, even though he had been driving. He faces a possible jail term for perverting justice, and his high-flying political career is in ruins. The Liberal Democrats’ efforts to hang onto the seat have been hampered by accusations that former chief executive Chris Rennard inappropriately touched and propositioned several women in incidents dating back a decade.

United Kingdom: Nick Clegg: Lords reform plans to be abandoned | BBC

Plans to reform the House of Lords are being abandoned after Conservatives “broke the coalition contract”, Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg has announced. Agreement on an elected Lords could not be reached with Tory opponents, he said, and the plans would be shelved rather than face a “slow death”. As a result, he said Lib Dem MPs could not now support Conservative-driven changes to Commons boundaries in 2015. Labour said the Lords climbdown was a “humiliation” for the coalition. Changes to the make-up of the Lords would have seen 80% of peers elected and the total number of members halved to 450.

United Kingdom: Welsh voters could be given right to recall AMs and force by-elections | WalesOnline

Welsh voters could gain the right to recall their AMs who are guilty of crimes and force a by-election, according to the leader of the House of Commons. Sir George Young has confirmed that the UK Government will consider extending legislation, which would give citizens the power to recall MPs, to cover members of the National Assembly and the other devolved bodies. Under the proposals, a by-election will be held if at least 10% of people on a constituency’s electoral register sign a recall petition. However, petitions will only be triggered under two strictly defined situations where an MP is convicted in the United Kingdom of an offence and receives a custodial sentence of 12 months or less or when the House of Commons resolves that an MP should be recalled.

United Kingdom: ‘Laziness’ not grounds for MP recall, says Nick Clegg | BBC News

MPs should not be stripped of their seats for political reasons or “laziness” under plans for “recall” elections, Nick Clegg has said. MPs accused of serious wrongdoing could be forced to stand down and face a by-election if enough voters demand it. But the deputy PM said “recall” must be “a backstop sanction rather than something that would be used – or abused – for political purposes”. He told a committee of MPs he did not want it to become a “kangaroo court”. Proposals to introduce recall elections were drawn up by all three main parties at Westminster in the wake of the the 2009 expenses scandal. But political and constitutional reform committee chairman, Labour MP Graham Allen, said the idea, contained in a draft bill, was unpopular with MPs who believed Mr Clegg was “fighting yesterday’s battle”.

United Kingdom: Why expats should be able to keep their votes | Telegraph

It was quaintly ironic how President Sarkozy’s decision to reach out to his thousands of expatriate French citizens by giving them proper representation in the French Senate, by way of their own Senators to represent their interests, boomeranged spectacularly when he attempted to impose a tax on second home owners.

As his ministers quite rightly pointed out to him, the hundreds of thousands of French citizens resident and working in countries like the UK, many of whom now owned what had become a “second home” in France, were more than likely due to this legislation to vote against him. And bingo, he performed an incredible U-turn and dropped the tax.

Does this give British citizens now resident in France and elsewhere who after 15 years have lost their right to vote in the UK pause for thought? I do hope so. It shows the power of democracy, and the ability of voting citizens to change legislation.