Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bishop's New Jibe at Our Politicians; Stinging Criticism of Political System by Rt Rev Wright

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bishop's New Jibe at Our Politicians; Stinging Criticism of Political System by Rt Rev Wright

Article excerpt

Byline: William Green

Comment

YET another scathing attack on Britain's political establishment was launched by the increasingly outspoken Bishop of Durham.

In a stinging rebuke, the Rt Rev Tom Wright said the country needed constitutional reform but the Government was "not the team to do it" because its plans would appear to be a "diversionary tactic".

His comments came after the Prime Minister opened the door to a far-reaching overhaul of how Parliament works in response to the expenses scandal amid bitter rows inside the Labour party.

In the Lords, the Rt Rev Wright, said: "If even a Government in happier times, with no whiff of scandal or internal division, were suddenly to propose such a package, we would be startled.

"How much more when this is bound to appear as a diversionary tactic, a displacement activity, a desperate attempt to flail around in the water as the sharks close in?" He added: "We need constitutional reform, but this is not the way to go about it, and this Government are not the team to do it.

"If we are to have serious change, it must command massive assent across the country, and the Government are now incapable of achieving that." He said more time was needed to discuss such massive changes with most people only just becoming aware of the depth of the constitutional problem.

Insisting he was even-handed, he regarded with "equal suspicion" the call for an immediate election or for Proportional Representation as failing to address the breakdown of trust in Parliament or problem constitution.

"They both assume that if we only voted again, or voted differently, the sun would come out from behind the cloud and everyone in the country would smile again.

"No - the people I meet day by day in the North East of England are not eager for an election, and they are not fussed about proportional representation. …

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