New British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has made his first policy statement since succeeding Tony Blair last Wednesday. In a packed House of Commons Brown detailed reforms to strengthen parliament and increase its control over the executive. In particular, he listed 12 powers held by the head of government for centuries that would go or be limited.
This was all intended, he said, to renew the public’s faith in its politicians; “And it’s my hope that by working together for change in a spirit that takes us beyond parties and beyond partisanship we can agree a new British constitutional settlement that entrusts more power to parliament and the British people. What I propose today is not and should not be seen as a final blueprint for a constitutional settlement, but a route map towards it. Now the route map seeks to address two fundamental questions, to hold power more accountable, and to uphold and enhance the rights and responsibilities of the citizen”, he said.
Tony Blair’s single-minded determination to go to war in Iraq and what many people see as his misleading of parliament to back the government’s case against Saddam Hussein has led to Brown’s determination to be seen as more open than his predecessor.