25/04/2013 08:12 BST | Updated 25/04/2013 09:23 BST

Give People Prizes For Voting, Say Labour

Shadow Leader of the House Angela Eagle speaks during a sitting of the house motion in the House of Commons in London as the Government plans to cancel Prime Minister's Questions so that senior ministers can attend Baroness Thatcher's funeral.

Voters should be entered into a lottery to win prizes as a reward for turning up at the polls, a senior Labour figure has suggested.

Angela Eagle, the shadow leader of the House of Commons, said millions of people were disenfranchised and "new and creative ideas" were needed to encourage more people to the ballot box.

In a speech in Westminster on Wednesday evening, Eagle said Labour could consider offering "incentives for voting".

"It should be easier for people to vote. Ballot boxes could be where people are – at the supermarket as well as the school - and we should consider electronic voting.

"If we shop online and bank online with the proper security against fraud then why can’t we vote online?


She added: "How about entering everyone who voted into a lottery? What about making Election Day a bank holiday?"

Eagle also said parliament needed to be more diverse in order to better reflect the country.

"When a disengaged member of the public casts an eye towards the chamber, what do they see? A mass of grey suits and a world which looks nothing like their life, speaking a language they rarely understand," she said.

"The model of leadership thought to be desirable which is implicit in all of the media's political coverage is brimming with machismo. Political parties are there to be 'mastered' and 'disciplined.' As soon as a general election is declared all female politicians mysteriously disappear from our TV screens."

Yesterday it was reported that female Labour MPs met an aide to Ed Miliband this week to ask that more female MPs be put in front of TV cameras.

Labour MP Meg Hillier told Bloomberg: "It feels like we are seeing fewer women than sometimes in the past. I don’t think that’s intentional, but we need to hold the feet of the party to the fire and ensure that our women are visible in the media."