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06 July 2010 by Zac Goldsmith

Government confirms that local people can trigger referendums

In response to parliamentary questions by Zac Goldsmith and Robert Neill, the Government has confirmed that it “will give residents the power to instigate local referendums on any local issue”.
The Department for Communities and Local Government intends to legislate to this effect in the Decentralisation and Localism Bill announced in the Queen's Speech. Once the Bill is introduced in the House of Commons, Zac will speak during the debate about the 2007 local referendum in Barnes on a proposed Sainsbury's store in White Hart Lane.
Andrew Stunell said; “we will give residents the power to instigate local referendums on any local issue. The Government intend to include the necessary statutory provisions as part of legislation to devolve greater powers to councils and neighbourhoods and give local communities control over housing and planning decisions which was announced in the Queen's Speech for this parliamentary session.”

Commenting, Zac said, “Parliament needs to shorten the distance between people and power so that politics is less remote and people have more say. The most effective way to do that is to give people the right to trigger a referendum on important local issues. This is one of the reasons I stood as an MP, and I am thrilled the Government has taken a big step in the right direction.”

He added; “the mock referendum I commissioned in Barnes two years ago to stop a new supermarket had no teeth and was ignored. But despite that, it attracted a bigger turnout than in the previous General Election and showed how engaged the community is and wants to be.”