29 Dec 2010

UK public to be directly involved in shaping new laws

6:18 am on 29 December 2010

The British government has indicated it intends to push ahead with proposals to involve the public directly in shaping new laws.

Voters will be able to post petitions on a government website and those that generate most support - probably 100,000 signatures - would be debated, with some possibly becoming bills.

Ministers will seek agreement with the House of Commons Procedure Committee, to give the petitions parliamentary time.

But Labour said the plans would mean "crazy ideas" being discussed by MPs.

The BBC reports the proposals have yet to be taken through cabinet and ministers have not yet discussed them with the Speaker, John Bercow.

A BBC political correspondent said that allowing petitions to be drafted as parliamentary bills would be more difficult and would take longer to put in place.

The government envisages using the private member's bill procedure, which would require an individual MP to support the measure and would be easy for other members to block.

There are no details on how planned legislation would be taken through the upper house, the Lords.