British PM defends plans to change parliament

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Prime Minister David Cameron on Sunday defended his plans to change the way parliament works and pledged a full audit of government in his first major interview since taking office.

The Conservative Party leader, who has formed a coalition with the Liberal Democrats, insisted their partnership could last, in a BBC television interview from the prime minister's 10 Downing Street office in London.

Cameron dismissed concerns over proposals to introduce a fixed-term, five-year parliament, with a 55 percent majority of lawmakers needed to dissolve it.

Currently, parliaments are elected for five years but can be dissolved to trigger an election at any time should the monarch grant a prime minister's request to do so.

Cameron said the idea was a "very positive one".

"I believe the time has come for us to move in Britain to fixed-term parliaments," he said.

"I'm the first prime minister in British history to give up the right, independently, to go to the Queen and ask for a dissolution at a time of my choosing. This is a big surrender of prime ministerial power. I think it's a really good thing.

"If you have a fixed-term parliament, you have to have some form of mechanism of actually making sure it is a fixed-term parliament."

Cameron said that finance minister George Osborne would launch Monday an audit of the government's books by the new Office of Budget Responsibility.

He said the former prime minister Gordon Brown's administration had made "crazy" spending decisions that "no rational government would have done".

© 2010 AFP

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