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LIB-LAB AGREEMENT COULD LEAD TO NEW VOTING SYSTEM

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Tony Blair and Charles Kennedy are ready to agree to a referendum early in the next parliament on am Australian-sty...
Tony Blair and Charles Kennedy are ready to agree to a referendum early in the next parliament on am Australian-style voting system for Westminster elections, according to The Times (p1).

The two leaders are close to a compromise on electoral reform, which would see Tony Blair abandoning Lord Jenkins of Hillhead's proposals for the introduction of full proportional representation for general elections.

He is instead expected to back the alternative vote system, used in Australia, in which electors rank candidates in order of preference.

At the same time, Mr Kennedy is thought to be willing to accept the scheme, which he would sell to his party as a 'staging post' on the way to 'proper' PR.

He and Mr Blair are keen to reach a deal because both are said to recognise that a reduced Labour majority at the election could reopen debate about a coalition.
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