Plans for a two-year national deliberation, in which citizens are asked to shape the UK’s democratic future, have been announced.
Advocated by Graham Allen, led by the Centre for British Politics and Government, King’s College London, and backed by a high-profile group of MPs, The Citizens’ Convention aims to deliver a new ‘partnership between elected representatives and citizens’. The team supporting the Conventions’ plans includes the King’s Policy Institute at King’s College London, Involve and us, The Democratic Society!
A process for democratic change
The Convention proposes starting with a national conversation on the future of UK democracy, open to all citizens in the UK, to establish themes and ideas for a series of citizens’ assembly-style events to then consider.
Randomly selected citizens, convened to be demographically representative of the UK population, will then work together “to learn, deliberate and make decisions on how democracy can be deepened and improved.”
Everything is up for grabs
While citizens will be at the driving seat of any recommendations the convention makes, a Parliamentary leaders group has set areas of interest for the convention. This includes powers and membership of the House of Lords, the voting systems we use, and how politics should be paid for – but leaves open any proposals or changes citizens want to see.
The Parliamentary Leaders Group of MPs includes Tom Watson MP, David Davis MP, Dominic Grieve MP, Sir Vince Cable and Caroline Lucas. Importantly, Graham Allen says in the Independent: “The MPs have signed a pledge to seek manifesto commitments from their parties that parliament will receive and then decide upon the recommendations and Bills proposed by the Citizens’ Convention.”
- You can also hear Mark Easton, the BBC home affairs editor, and Nick Robinson, discuss the Convention for short piece on the Today programme, from 39 minutes in, on the BBC website.