Our electoral system is flawed. At the last General Election in Gloucestershire,
Conservatives received 191 thousand votes, Labour 81 thousand, Lib Dems 60
thousand and Greens 17 thousand. Yet because of our ‘First past the post’
system all six elected MPs in the county were Conservative. This does not
reflect the will of the people.
Cheltenham Labour party is sponsoring a motion to its Annual Conference in
Liverpool this weekend calling for the party to support a form of proportional
A number of alternative systems have been proposed for electing MPs. For
example the number of seats for each political party could be directly
proportional to their votes received. Or there could be multi-member
constituencies so that for example several MPs might share Gloucestershire.
Hybrid schemes have been suggested too. Almost any system would be fairer
than the present one.
Labour for a New Democracy say “In nineteen of the last twenty general
elections most people voted for parties to the left of Conservatives, yet the
Tories have governed for two thirds of that time and are using this power to rig
the system further. They are attacking British democracy by suppressing the
right to vote, by imposing punishing Trade Union laws, by undermining the right
to protest and by using public funds for private gain”.
The motion to annual conference asks for three things:-
- Labour must make a commitment in its next manifesto to introduce a form of
Proportional Representation for general elections;
- During its first term in office the next Labour government would change the
voting system for general elections;
- Labour should convene an open and inclusive process to decide the specific
proportional system it would introduce.
All political parties in Gloucestershire except the Conservatives think we need
to change how we elect our MPs. Ironically, Liz Truss was elected under an
Alternative Vote system. With ‘First past the post’, she would not have been
Prime Minister because she came third in the first round of voting.
David G Evans.