UK Politics

Nick Clegg's powers as deputy prime minister defined

Nick Clegg
Image caption Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is in charge of a string of political reforms

Prime Minister David Cameron has spelled out precisely what his deputy Nick Clegg's job will entail.

The deputy prime minister was put in charge of political reform when the coalition government was formed.

Now Mr Cameron has said what that means in practice - and what powers the Lib Dem leader will get.

They include introducing fixed-term Parliaments and legislating for a referendum on changing the voting system.

Other responsibilities to be transferred to Mr Clegg from the Ministry of Justice include legislating to create fewer and more equal-sized constituencies, supporting people with disabilities to become MPs and introducing a power for voters to recall their MP.

Mr Clegg will also be in charge of "developing proposals for a wholly or mainly elected second chamber". Mr Cameron has promised MPs they will get a vote on House of Lords reform in December.

The Lib Dem leader will have powers to speed up the introduction of individual voter registration, a move aimed at combating electoral fraud.

Olympics minister

He will also introduce a statutory register of lobbyists, reform party funding and move forward with plans for more "all postal primaries" to choose election candidates.

He will also be in charge of considering the "West Lothian question" - the longstanding anomaly which sees Scottish MPs voting on matters affecting England, but not vice versa.

The deputy prime minister will also have policy responsibility for the Electoral Commission, Boundary Commission and Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, which is setting up the new expenses regime for MPs and peers, Mr Cameron said in a written statement.

The Office of the Third Sector, in charge of charity and voluntary group policy, will become the Office for Civil Society and support the minister for civil society, Nick Hurd, who is based in the Cabinet Office.

In other announcements on the shape of his government, Mr Cameron said the Government Equalities Office, which is responsible for the implementation of the Equality Act 2010, as well as the government's overall strategy on equality issues, will report to Home Secretary Theresa May, who is also the Minister for Women and Equalities.

Under Labour it was the responsibility of the then Commons leader Harriet Harman.

Ministerial responsibility for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, which under Labour was held by Olympics minister, Tessa Jowell, will now pass to Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport.

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