SO IS THIS REAL PEOPLE POWER? Tory Leader Sets out Radical Reforms to Calm Outraged Voters

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Byline: Tim Shipman Deputy Political Editor

DAVID Cameron promised yesterday that a Tory government would hand power to 'the man and woman on the street' disgusted by the behaviour of Britain's ruling classes.

In a landmark speech the Tory leader pledged to implement the most wide-reaching reforms in generations to clean up politics after the Westminster expenses scandal.

He made several pledges - to give ordinary voters the right to change local laws, slash the number of MPs by 10 per cent and force Whitehall mandarins to publish their expenses online. He also promised to 'seriously consider' the introduction of fixedterm Parliaments and giving MPs more free votes on new legislation.

But he also left himself wriggle room, sparking charges that his proposals are a cynical attempt to cash in on public rage.

The intervention was designed to steal a march on Gordon Brown, who has pledged to introduce reforms in the coming months.

In his speech at the Open University in Milton Keynes, Mr Cameron said a 'massive sweeping, radical redistribution of power', including a curb on the power of the Premier, was needed to halt social breakdown.

He sought to channel what he called the 'terrible but impotent anger' voters feel when confronted by nanny state officials who are 'self-serving, not serving us'.

Mr Cameron said: 'We rage that, as we go about our business, we are picked and poked and bossed around, annoyed and irritated and endlessly harassed by public and private sector officialdom that treats us like children with rules and regulations and directives and laws that no one voted for, no one supports, but no one ever seems to be able to do the slightest thing about.' A Con-servativgovernment would respond by giving ordinary voters to overturn government decisions they do not like. If around 3,500 people in a typical constituency got together to complain, they could force a local referendum to veto moves to close post offices or railway stations.

Mr Cameron said he would throw open the entire legislative process to further scrutiny. Voters would be able to track the progress of a bill online and receive text messages. The ban on Commons proceedings being posted on YouTube would be lifted. …