Thank you, Mr. Reynolds

18 Dec 2015

This Wednesday, MPs had their first chance in years to discuss proportional representation in the House of Commons. Sadly, they voted not to allow the Proportional Representation Bill to go forward – a huge shame, but not a great surprise.

In the chamber, Jonathan Reynolds MP who proposed the Bill spoke on behalf of the 6,000 people who wrote to their MPs, the 500,000 who signed petitions this May and the tens of millions whose votes were wasted by First Past the Post this year at the General Election. He spoke up on behalf of the 57% of the public who think seats should match votes. And he did an excellent job.

This is a speech that we think everyone needs to hear. The full transcript will be on our blog this weekend, but you can watch it here for now – so far it’s been watched on Facebook by over 80,000 people:

29 MPs from six parties voted in favour of the Proportional Representation Bill. They have our thanks and congratulations – so here’s the roll of honour:

Graham Allen, Kevin Barron, Ben Bradshaw, Tom Brake, Richard Burden, Alistair Carmichael, Douglas Carswell, Stella Creasy, Jon Cruddas, Geraint Davies, Jim Dowd, Mark Durkan, Jonathan Edwards, Paul Flynn, Dame Margaret Hodge, Norman Lamb, Caroline Lucas, Fiona Mactaggart, Greg Mulholland, Jonathan Reynolds, Margaret Ritchie, Liz Saville Roberts, Andrew Smith, Wes Streeting, Stephen Twigg, Chuka Umunna, Mark Williams, Helen Goodman (teller), Daniel Zeichner (teller).

It has been really useful to find out which MPs supported and opposed the Bill. Moreover, responses from Parliamentarians to the over 6,000 emails which supporters sent were an incredibly useful information-gathering exercise, and one that will greatly improve our Parliamentary campaigning work – we had well over a hundred responses from MPs.

2016 will be an incredibly busy year for the ERS, with every voter getting a chance to vote on something – from Police and Crime Commissioners to local councils, the London and Welsh Assemblies and the Scottish Parliament. Many of these elections will be using relatively proportional voting systems – and we’ll be using that to continue to build the case for PR in the New Year.

The campaign goes on!


12 Responses to Thank you, Mr. Reynolds

Ann moore 18 Dec 2015

We need to change voting system asap before Cameron ensures Tories get in for life

Anonymous 19 Dec 2015

Which part of The referendum wasn't about PR do you not understand, Spellar?

Stephen Barraclough 28 Dec 2015

It often surprises me, that MPs, for they are the only ones who can be heard, spend so much time talking amongst themselves whilst the proposal was being made. Also the amount of inappropriate laughter - just WHAT one wonders, can they be finding amusing in a serious proposal, which is of COUNTRY-WIDE importance?    They make a mockery of both Parliamentary procedure and  its importance and significance, and are a disgrace!

David Callow 2 Jan 2016

We really need to get the Labour Party to support PR. If Jeremy said this would be available, if he were elected to power, it would be an absolute vote winner for him.

Duncan Fraser 6 Jan 2016

It was in the 1997 and 2001 manifestos, see the Jenkins Commission which was in favour of STV.  It was dropped by 2005 presumably because Labour thought it would govern for life.

martinjameschil... 6 Jan 2016

Please see this youtube clip, Jeremy Corbyn comes out in favour of electoral reform:
I hope this works as I am fairly computer illiterate.
Also Labour's Co-operative Party allies should have pressure put on them as they support democracy in peoples' working lives eg workers' co-ops, they should therefore also support democratic reform in elections to parliament too.

peterelectionfo... 6 Jan 2016

A very good speech by Jonathan Reynolds.
Perhaps to the best way to take forward is to conduct polling in Scotland and Wales to check what electorate there think of AMS which they use for devolved govt as opposed to FPTP for Westminster. I am sure they prefer the former which would be further evidence of its popularity and simplicity aswell as its fairness.
I believe a national referendum on AMS (which will not happen in the foreseeable future as Con and Lab lose seats) would indeed pass.

Anthony 6 Jan 2016

Or even the much better STV system used for all Scottish local elections.  It provides not only party proportionality but also more choice for voters and less power for political parties, which is why politicians tend not to like it.  It can also provide proportionality between any other (non-party) groupings that matter to politicians.  It is the voters' system.

peterelectionfo... 6 Jan 2016

I believe a national referendum on AMS would be successful but sadly we will not get one unless either Con or Lab believe they cannot win outright under FPTP.
It was a good speech by Jonathan Reynolds and I suggest a way to take forward would be to poll Scotland and Wales and London asking their preference between AMS as used for regional assemblies and FPTP as used for Westminster and I believe most would support the system they use for their regional assemblies as it is both simple and fair.

Richard Lung 6 Jan 2016

As the Richard Report on the Welsh Assembly elections said: AMS denies the voters the fundamental right to reject candidates. The report recorded just how few lose their seats. Dual candidature means that if a candidate is so unfortunate to lose his safe single member monopoly, he has a second safety net, as party boss pet on the party list.
Polite conversation forbids me to express what I think of this dud anti-democratic unscientific AMS system that gives career politicians a more secure job for life than even the first past the post swindle.
The old Electoral Reform Society of Enid Lakeman and Major Frank Britton forgot more than the present incumbents ever knew.
If you want an election that elects, PR by STV in large constituencies (The HG Wells formula) is the democratic and scientific way to go.
Ive written two free books on the subject from Smashwords:
Peace-making Power-sharing;
Scientific Method of Elections.

Duncan Fraser 6 Jan 2016

As far as I could see not one tory mp voted in favour, but this wasn't considered newsworthy.  My MP (Alan Johnson, Labour) is a member of the ERS but I didn't see his name in the list

Charles Cooper 20 Jan 2016

We certainly need a fairer voting system because first past the post is designed for 2 parrty's contesting against each other. Can we not start by introducing a Proportional Representation system for all local elections and then at a later stage when it is seen as a success,  introduce it for General Elections.

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