Our voting system needs a shake-up, give us PR
06 December, 2019
Cities of London & Westminster Conservative candidate Nickie Aiken
• I FIND Nickie Aiken’s words prizing “democracy” somewhat disingenuous, (Enough is enough, we must move on, November 29).
The original vote for Brexit had what the Electoral Reform Society has described as “glaring democratic deficiencies”; meanwhile, leaving aside the referendum campaign, only 37 per cent of the electorate actually voted to leave (and what they meant by that was not clear).
Councillor Aiken laments that “…too many countries still do not enjoy democracy”. It is ironic, then, that her party’s election manifesto pledges, “We will continue to support the First Past the Post system of voting, as it allows voters to kick out politicians who don’t deliver, both locally and nationally.” This is a gross manipulation of the truth.
Under FPTP, Cllr Aiken leads a local authority which 57 per cent of voters in Westminster borough did not choose. It has therefore quite clearly failed on its own criteria.
Recent national polls suggest that a similar majority will not back the Conservatives in this general election, yet they could easily get a majority in parliament under FPTP.
If Cllr Aiken wins in Cities of London and Westminster, constituency polling indicates that it will be on a minority of the votes cast, with the majority of electors opting for candidates other than herself.
Is it “democracy” when the majority’s choice does not win? Labour’s manifesto pledges a constitutional convention to debate these urgent issues.
Many in the party, including Cities of London and Westminster Constituency Labour Party, support a move to a system of proportional representation, which would accurately reflect how people vote.
Another referendum is frequently used to shut down discussion of PR: the defeated AV (Alternative Vote) poll in 2011.
However, AV is not proportional representation. Only with the vital change to a PR system can we really call ourselves a “democracy”.
London Regional Representative Labour Campaign for Electoral Reform