Josiah Mortimer's blog

19 May 2017

The Conservatives just pledged to take our democracy back decades

Yesterday Theresa May launched the Conservatives’ manifesto. There was a lot of talk about ‘moving forwards’. But one pledge stuck out as doing the exact opposite. Theresa May has pledged to impose (or in the manifesto’s words , ‘extend’) First Past the Post for Mayoral, Police and Crime Commissioner elections, and – though still to be confirmed – the London Assembly . We won’t mince our words […]
5 May 2017

The next government must extend votes at 16 beyond Scotland

You might not have realised, but on Thursday, thousands of 16 and 17 year olds trekked to polling stations across the country to exercise their democratic right to vote. They went with the full support of all the main parties – including the Conservatives. The country in question was Scotland. Since the law was passed unanimously in June 2015 (on the same day as MPs in Westminster rejected it for […]
7 Apr 2017

Fighting for fair votes around the world – lessons from the Global Greens Congress

Pic: @JohnGormley Proportional representation has been a longstanding campaign of the Greens. But not just here in the UK – democratic reform is often a key plank of Green platforms. So it was fascinating to see leaders of the Green parties of Canada, New Zealand, the US, Japan and Korea come speak alongside each other at Make Votes Matter’s fringe at the Green Party’s Spring Conference in […]
6 Apr 2017

How PR ‘completely transformed’ New Zealand politics: Metiria Turei, Green Party co-leader

In 1996, New Zealand introduced the Mixed Member Proportion (MMP) voting system – a mixed FPTP and proportional list voting system. It was a big step forward for the fight for fair votes everywhere. I went to the Global Greens’ Congress in Liverpool last weekend – and had the chance to catch up with Metiria Turei, the co-leader of the New Zealand Green Party - who was elected when PR was first […]
3 Apr 2017

Enough is enough - it's time for a full review of Lords' expenses

It seems that each new batch of expenses from the House of Lords is yet another scandal. This weekend we saw fresh revelations – and with it, some pretty egregious abuses of the system. Yesterday the Sunday Times revealed that some Peers are claiming up to £40,000 a year in expenses – while making little or no contributions to debates, committees or questions. It follows news that former Lords […]
21 Mar 2017

We did it: petition for PR hits 100,000 signatures

We did it. The petition to introduce real Proportional Representation for Westminster has hit its target of 100,000 – with over two weeks to go. Thousands of you shared our blogs, tweets, emails and posts about the petition. And it’s paid off. It had about 50,000 signatures at the start of February, meaning it has surged over the past month to get it over the threshold to go before the Petitions […]
10 Mar 2017

The momentum for Lords reform is growing

Reform often comes through an unusual mix of factors. They stir up within a short space of time – until the whole strange potion explodes. It feels like we might be witnessing that process right now with the House of Lords. Last Sunday the petition for an elected House of Lords hit 100,000 signatures. That means it will now be considered for a debate in Parliament by the Commons’ Petition […]
14 Feb 2017

The inquiry on cutting the Lords risks looking like a stitch up

Back in December, the House of Lords voted unanimously to back the statement "that this House believes that its size should be reduced, and methods should be explored by which this could be achieved". It was a positive move, even if the rationale seemed slightly worrying – namely, staving off further and more substantial reform (see my blog for more on that). On Tuesday we submitted our evidence […]
7 Feb 2017

100,000 names for PR: let’s get fair votes on Parliament’s agenda

Sign Petition Four months ago, an electoral reform supporter started a petition on the government’s e-petition site to introduce a proportional voting system for Westminster elections. Today, it has over 60,000 signatures – and is growing by the day. With eight weeks to go, this petition from Makes Votes Matter (and backed by us at the ERS) has a real chance of reaching the 100,000 needed to be […]
31 Jan 2017

It turns out voters have faith in democracy. But we can do better

Graphic by the Electoral Commission. This article was first published by Democratic Audit From Donald Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud in the US, to the government’s plans for voter ID trials in the UK next year, the (often shaky) notion of widespread abuse in our democratic system has been on the agenda this past few months. So it’s interesting to see new research from the Electoral […]