6 Jul 2010

UK to hold referendum on voting system

7:33 am on 6 July 2010

Britain will go to the polls next year to vote on whether to retain its electoral system.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is to introduce legislation which would mean a referendum would be held next May on whether to retain the "First Past The Post" system or switch to another known as the "Alternative Vote", where candidates are ranked in order of preference.

He also announced plans to cut the number of MPs to 600 from 650, and fix the legislative term at five years instead of allowing the prime minister to pick a convenient election date.

The BBC reports a referendum was pledged as part of the coalition deal between the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats.

If approved, the changes would mean the next election would be held on 7 May, 2015.

The Boundary Commission would be asked to redraw the constituency map, so each has roughly the same number of voters, by the end of 2013 - allowing new constituencies to be used in the 2015 general election.