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General Election 2010

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Clegg unveils political reform plan

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is to promise to spearhead the biggest shake-up in Britain's democracy in almost two centuries as he lays out the new coalition Government's plans for political reform.

In his first set-piece speech since taking office last week, the Liberal Democrat leader will say the Government intends to take "a wholesale, big bang approach" to its reform agenda.

The coalition agreement between the Conservatives and Lib Dems includes plans for five-year fixed-term parliaments, a wholly or mainly elected House of Lords, the power for voters to dismiss MPs found guilty of serious wrongdoing and a referendum on voting reform for Westminster elections.

Mr Clegg will say that it represents a "fundamental resettlement of the relationship between state and citizen" and the most significant change to British democracy since the Great Reform Act of 1832.

"This Government is going to be unlike any other," he will say, according to advance extracts of his speech.

"This Government is going to transform our politics so the state has far less control over you, and you have far more control over the state.

"This Government is going to break up concentrations of power and hand power back to people, because that is how we build a society that is fair.

"Incremental change will not do. It is time for a wholesale, big bang approach to political reform. That's what this Government will deliver."

Mr Clegg will also highlight measures to scrap the ID card scheme and the national identity register.

He will promise that CCTV and the DNA database will be properly regulated and that internet and email records will not be retained by the authorities without justification.

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