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Tories will let voters 'rewrite' legislation online

Bringing ignoring the public into the 21st century

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The Tories have pledged to open source legislation if they get into power, raising the promise of an even bigger cock-up than Number 10's woeful petitions website.

The Guardian reports that shadow foreign secretary William Hague will unveil the plan, presumably at the Conservative Party Conference this week.

Hague will unveil another stage of the legislative process, dubbed the "public reading stage", which will allow voters to give MPs their views on legislation. Crucially, this will come after the first reading in the Commons, the main hurdle that bills currently have to face, and before the committee stage, where MPs debate bills line by line.

Unsurprisingly, the Tories will work with Tom Steinberg, director of MySociety, who told the paper: "A smarter use of IT by government can do more than just deliver services more quickly and efficiently, it can also open up the institutions of state and make our lives as citizens more effective and rewarding. I am looking forward to being part of this change."

According to The Guardian, Hague will say: "A public reading stage for new legislation will throw open the doors of parliament and enable the public to play a role in the legislative process."

Luddites might suggest that the public already have plenty of avenues to express their views on legislation - not least the fact that they can give the OK to parties' manifestos every five years or so in the general election.

Of course, expecting people to get off their backsides and get down to a polling station before having their views ignored is dreadfully old-fashioned and inefficient.

By contrast, the "public reading stage" will mean MPs can in future be hijacked by wingnuts and ignore the common sense majority in real time. ®

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