Brown Proposes Significant Power Shift

PM seeks new role for Parliament, bill of rights, lower voting age
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 4, 2007 11:00 AM CDT
Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown, right, talks with Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, after a meeting of the government's top emergency committee in 10 Downing Street, London Friday June 29, 2007. The...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Gordon Brown used his first appearance before the House of Commons as PM yesterday to unveil a surprising slate of power-shifting reforms, including limiting his right to declare war and lowering the voting age to 16. The initiatives, which also include development of a bill of rights, could radically alter the UK's political balance, the Guardian reports.

Increasing Parliament's clout, instituting weekend elections, and eliminating government selection of bishops were among Brown's other proposals. He consulted with Buckingham Palace in formalizing the package of reforms, which are intended to mark a break with his increasingly unpopular predecessor, Tony Blair. Initial reaction from Labor was positive, but Tories accused Brown of plundering their platform.