A close-up of a painting of British Prime Minister David Cameron. (thierry ehrmann / CC BY 2.0)

When politicians renege on campaign promises, they are not “being economical with the truth” but “deceiving the public in order to win an election” — and such betrayal in the United Kingdom should trigger a general election, according to Guardian contributor Simon Hattenstone.

Hattenstone writes:

Ah, that’s politics, we blithely say. But it shouldn’t be politics. And it needn’t be politics. Politicians should not be able to cheat their way to power. The simplest solution would be to introduce a right of veto: opposition parties should be able to reject a proposal that contradicts the government’s election pledges.

If a political party then insists on going ahead with a policy at odds with pre-election promises, they should have a right to, but they should also know there is a price to be paid. There is currently much discussion about the prospect of MPs who regularly defy their party whip facing reselection. But what about parties who defy themselves – and the public who voted them in? Surely, if a government insists on breaking promises that got them elected in the first place, it should face the ultimate sanction: the automatic triggering of a general election.

Yes, prime minister, of course you can say one thing and do the other, but if you do, the public gets the chance to say whether it still considers you fit for office. This might be an expensive and time-consuming solution to political mendacity, but imagine how much more transparent politics would be if the liars’ charter were introduced to parliament.

Read more here.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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