Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

AV 'would end MP jobs for life'

Comedian Eddie Izzard at the national launch of the YES! campaign for the Alternative Vote

MPs would be denied 'jobs for life' through holding safe seats if Britain switched to the Alternative Vote system in next month's referendum on the electoral system, Greg Dyke, the former director general of the BBC, says.

"In constituency after constituency, what matters is not getting the electorate to support you but getting the party to nominate you," said Dyke, who resigned from the BBC in 2004 and is now chair of the British Film Institute.

At the national launch of the Yes to AV campaign in London, he said: "Once nominated you've got a job for life in seat after seat which is why we've got rather average politicians. AV will begin to change that."

"Politicians are going to have to work harder to get our support and work harder to keep it," he said.

"You don't get jobs for life in anywhere else in Britain today so why should you in politics?"

He was speaking on an intentionally politician-free platform with comedian Eddie Izzard, writer Rowan Davis, retired athlete and motivational speaker Kriss Akabusi, war correspondent and former MP Martin Bell and ethical fashion designer Amisha Ghadiali.

Organisers said over 100 campaign events had been arranged across the country with banner drops in 60 cities.

Dyke said those opposing the campaign were "old hack politicians" and had become "complacent" about their jobs.

Citing opposition to the proposed changes from Conservative and Labour MPs, he said: "It's time for the politicians to keep quiet. This is not about them - it's about us.

"They are our servants, it's not the other way round," he added.

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