12 years to re-state a watered-down pledge. So much for progress.

by Stephen Tall on September 29, 2009

The Labour Party manifesto 1997:

We are committed to a referendum on the voting system for the House of Commons. An independent commission on voting systems will be appointed early to recommend a proportional alternative to the first-past-the-post system.

Gordon Brown’s speech to the Labour Party conference 2009:

There is now a stronger case than ever that MPs should be elected with the support of more than half their voters – as they would be under the Alternative Voting system. And so I can announce today that in Labour’s next manifesto there will be a commitment for a referendum to be held early in the next Parliament it will be for the people to decide whether they want to move to the Alternative Vote.

So a 1997 commitment to a proprotional electoral system has become a 2009 commitment to hold a referendum after the next election for a non-proportional system.

Still, at least on House of Lord reform the Labour Party has remained consistent – they’re still trying to remove the hereditary principle:

1997 manifesto: As an initial, self-contained reform, not dependent on further reform in the future, the right of hereditary peers to sit and vote in the House of Lords will be ended by statute.

2009 speech: In this next year we will remove the hereditary principle in the House of Lords once and for all.