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ACC CONF: LIB DEMS TAKE WATCHDOG ROLE

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Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown said his MPs would become the 'watchdogs for local democracy' and fight any '...
Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown said his MPs would become the 'watchdogs for local democracy' and fight any 'centralising tendencies' in the next government.

He said councils should gain a power of general competence, while the European Union's power of near general competence should go.

He called for proportional representation for council elections. 'I think it an absolute disgrace that any party should enjoy 92% of the seats on only 46% of the vote. I refer to the democratically intolerable administration of Liberal Democrat representation on Richmond LBC.'

Mr Ashdown repeated his party's outright opposition to capping and support for financial independence for councils. However, he made no reference to local income tax.

Mr Ashdown said he wanted more experiments on ideas such as single access points for information and services: 'I want to see a national network of one-stop shops for services.'
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