Proponents of electoral reform have described the use of the first pass in the UK general elections as an “outdated anomaly”, as the analysis shows a “stark contrast” to proportional representation elections in Wales, Scotland and London.
Launch Here to stay: two decades of proportional representation, the Electoral Reform Society marked the anniversary of the Referendums (Scotland and Wales) Act 1997, which it said “paved the way for a decentralized government elected by PR”.
The 46-page report, endorsed by Labor MP Clive Lewis, Green MP Caroline Lucas and former Deputy Prime Minister for Wales Baroness Randerson, compared public relations results with FPTP systems in different areas over the last two decades.
It found that in the last seven general elections, Scotland’s largest party won on average 75% of the seats in the Commons with 43% of the votes; the largest party won 45% of the seats in Holyrood, using PR, on 37% of the votes from the regional list.
In Wales, the last seven Westminster elections have resulted in the leading party receiving 71% of the seats, with only 44% of the votes cast. In the Senedd elections, the largest party obtained an average of 48% of the votes over 34% of the votes on the regional lists.
The last seven UK general elections have seen the largest party win on average 66% of the seats in London, based on winning just 46% of the vote. The largest party has won an average of 42% of seats based on 35% of the vote from the regional list in the six London Assembly elections in the same period.
“We can learn a lot about the success of public relations in Scotland, Wales and London. Giving all voters a voice and having politicians working together to get things done is a far cry from Westminster Punch and Judy politics, ”Lewis said.
“The lack of democracy in the UK has led to climate collapse and a second golden age of accumulated wealth and power. We need more democracy, not less, if we want our politics to be adequate for decades to come. However, our electoral system is out of sync with the culture and people it is supposed to serve and represent. “
The LRA is calling for a shift from a “one party takes all” approach in Westminster to a proportional system like the single transferable vote, which allows voters to rank candidates by preference in multi-member districts.
Commenting on the analysis, ERS Director of Policy and Research Dr Jess Garland said: “This report shows how public relations produces much fairer results in Scotland, Wales and London than the warped Westminster system.” -past-the-post. “Public relations gives voters real representation and the comfort of knowing their vote will count.
“It is clear that English voters are being left behind, disappointed by our electoral system and, too often, they see their votes left in the trash when it comes time for elections.
“It is time for England and Westminster to catch up. Reform has long been needed to ensure that all elections in the UK are conducted by proportional representation and First Past the Post is relegated to history.”
Public relations aims to ensure that the proportion of seats won matches the level of voter support. Its defenders point out that the United Kingdom is the only country in Europe that uses the first pass for general elections, apart from Belarus, a dictatorship.
Polls last month found that 83% of Labor members believe the party should support the shift from the UK electoral system to public relations, compared to 76% less than two years ago. 10% say that their party should not support the change of FPTP.
In May 2021, more than a third Of the electoral Labor parties across the country, more than 225 local parties have passed motions expressing support for proportional representation to be used in the UK general election.
But as local parties decide which issues to prioritize at the September Labor conference, activists have warned that electoral reform will only be debated in Brighton if dozens of CLPs send public relations policy motions to the conference.
Labor MPs and lobbyists joined forces in September last year to launch ‘Labor for a New Democracy’. The campaign to build support for electoral reform within the Labor Party has a model movement for members to perform at their local parties.
This motion specifies that the exact type of public relations voting system that the Labor Party would endorse in its next manifesto and legislate when in government would be determined by an “open and inclusive process” convened by the party.
Keir Starmer, whose support is crucial to getting a commitment to public relations in the upcoming Labor manifesto, vowed during his leadership campaign to consult party members on electoral reform and include it in a constitutional convention.
“We have to address the fact that millions of people vote in safe seats and feel that their voice does not count. That has to be addressed by an electoral reform. We will never get full participation in our electoral system until we do so at all levels, ”he said.
Starmer went on to tell Labor members that if elected to succeed Jeremy Corbyn as leader, he would deliver a “radical return of power.” Late last year, Starmer announced the launch of a UK-wide constitutional commission.
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