Tempers were raised, proclamations made and pledges for renewed campaining were made at a packed and heated Rally for Reform session that followed Gordon Browns annoucement about a referendum on AV this afternoon.
“This is history moving forward and it is an opportunity we have got to take,” John Denham told the Rally for Reform during a heated debate. Brown's annoucement for a referndum on AV in the next term was tribute to those who have been part of the long slog to get reform on the agenda, Denham said.
Many in the audience were sceptical- they have been let down on electoral reform before. There was also anger from Neal Lawson, Compass: "I feel patronised, I feel angry and I feel frustrated. If ever there was an oppotuniry to change our electoral system this was the moment...Brown flunked the test.
The annoucement has moved us from hung party territory to a safe Tory win, Lawson claimed.
Everyone was disappointed and emotions ran high. Panel and audience members were agreed that Brown stopped short of creating representitive politics they want. One man even annouced he was leaving the Labour Party.
Dave Rowntree had a more raational response. "An elected house of lords a great step forward. No one has got everything we wanted, but are we going to campaign against the government? No."