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Railroading English Votes through without proper debate would be ‘constitutionally reckless’

2nd July 2015
2 Jul 2015

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Statement from the Electoral Reform Society, for immediate release - 02/07/2015, 13:00

Contact: Josiah Mortimer, Communications Officer - 07717211630, josiah.mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk

Commenting on the Leader of the House Chris Grayling MP’s announcement that the government will press ahead with a version of English Votes for English Laws [1], Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said:

There are strong arguments for reforming how votes take place in Parliament, given the devolution we’ve seen over recent years. But for the government to railroad this complex change through with just one day’s worth of debate [2] is playing fast and loose with Britain’s constitution. There should be a full and extensive debate on this both inside and outside Parliament, with MPs and citizens properly involved in deciding what is a crucial issue of democratic principle.

“With less than two weeks to weigh up the proposals before the vote, the government is pushing through a major change to how our democracy works with little thought to the possible ramifications. This is about the future of the union, and it would be constitutionally reckless to ram English Votes through with only one day of Parliamentary debate.   

“There are profound constitutional consequences and questions that emerge if this move goes ahead with little debate. Does this politicise the Speaker? [3] Are we drifting towards a federal state? What’s the future of the union now? And what role do citizens have in deciding where our democracy goes from here? Surely the government can no longer resist the valid calls for a constitutional convention, to bring these debates together and to decide what kind of democracy we really want.”

For further quotes, comment or to arrange an interview, contact: Josiah Mortimer, Communications Officer - 07717211630, josiah.mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk

Notes

[1] This will be by amending the House’s standing orders. The Leader of the House’s statement to the Commons, 11:30am, 2nd July: http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/8315f42e-dc7a-485c-ac7f-21de8032e9ba

[2] The debate and vote on amending the House’s standing orders to introduce EVEL will be on the 15th July.

[3] The Speaker will have to decide which Bills will be covered by the new EVEL procedures.

Full government announcement: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/english-veto-brings-balance-and-fairness-to-parliament

Detailed proposals: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/440880/English_Votes_for_English_Laws_-_Proposed_Changes_to_the_Standing_Orders_of_the__House_of_Commons_and_Explanatory_Memorandum.pdf

House of Lords is 'elephant in the room' and needs radical reform – not more unelected Peers

26th June 2015
26 Jun 2015

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Statement from the Electoral Reform Society, for immediate release - 26/06/2015, 16:30
Contact: Josiah Mortimer, Communications Officer - 07717211630, josiah.mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk

News that the House of Lords is set to further grow in size over the coming months [1] was condemned by reform campaigners today.

The Society can reveal research which shows that rebalancing the Upper Chamber strictly in line with May 7th’s results would result in an additional 704 Peers, at a potential cost of £81m [2].

Commenting on the news, Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said:

“The news that our already bloated House of Lords is set to swell even more simply beggars belief - and is further proof that our upper chamber is in dire need of reform.

“With nearly 800 members, we already have the largest second house in the world – and the only one in Europe that is fully appointed.

“At the same time, the fact that the Liberal Democrats – who won 8% of the vote at the last election – could increase their share from the current 21% of partisan Peers shows just how out of kilter the House of Lords is with public opinion. This move completely ignores the fact that their support fell dramatically at the General Election.

“The solution however isn’t to boost the Lords in one direction or another. There are already 136 more unelected lawmakers than elected ones – a shocking state of affairs for an ostensibly modern democracy.  To rebalance the Upper Chamber strictly in line with May 7th’s results would result in an additional 704 Peers. This would, clearly, be ludicrous, and indeed expensive: the average cost of a Peer per year is £115,000.

“Instead of packing the Lords with more party donors and former MPs, we should recognise the elephant in the room and move to a fully elected upper chamber. The House of Lords is in urgent need of reform, and the sooner this archaic House is brought into the 21st Century the better.”

Contact: Josiah Mortimer, Communications Officer - 07717211630, josiah.mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk

Notes

[1] http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/jun/25/house-of-lords-to-see-in...
[2] Based on 2013 figures which show the cost per year per Peer is £115,000. 

Unanimously-passed votes at 16 bill in Scotland sets precedent for rest of UK

18th June 2015
18 Jun 2015

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Statement from the Electoral Reform Society, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, 17:00, 18/06/2015

For Scottish media enquiries, contact Willie Sullivan, willie.sullivan@electoral-reform.org.uk / 07940 523 842. For UK-wide media enquiries contact Josiah Mortimer (josiah.mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk / 07454397816)

  • ERS welcomes Scottish Parliament unanimously passing Bill giving 16 and 17 year olds the vote: “UK government should follow Holyrood’s example,” for EU referendum and all other elections
  • Vote in Westminster on votes at 16 falls by 310-265: “A huge missed opportunity,” says Katie Ghose, Chief Executive 
  • ERS warns of danger of divided UK franchise: “Westminster shouldn’t let this become an issue which drives a wedge between the nations of the UK” amid talk of 'one nation' Britain

As the Scottish Parliament voted to lower the voting age for all Scottish elections to 16, Willie Sullivan, Director of ERS Scotland, commented:

“The Electoral Reform Society has long argued that the franchise should be extended to include 16 and 17 year olds so we are delighted that today Holyrood has given our young people the opportunity to participate in all Scottish elections. The UK government should now follow Holyrood’s example, allowing 16 and 17 year olds to vote in the upcoming EU referendum.

“16 and 17 year olds threw themselves wholeheartedly into the Scottish referendum, with 75% voting and 97% saying they would vote in future elections. Even those opposed to extending the franchise for the referendum now agree that they participated with enthusiasm and made valuable contributions to the debate. Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson MSP has said that her position changed to support an extension of the franchise after watching and debating in front of 16 and 17 year olds throughout the referendum.  Research undertaken by Jan Eichhorn at the University of Edinburgh found that young people accessed more information from a wider variety of sources than any other age-group.

“Westminster must now let the rest of Britain’s 16 and 17 year olds have a voice, too. It would be a gross generational injustice if the very same young people will get a vote in all Scottish elections, but not the vote on Britain’s membership of the EU. For ermine-robed Lords to be specifically allowed to vote but not the generation who helped bring such vitality to the Scottish Referendum would be an insult to those young people and democratic negligence at its worst.

“Young Scots turned towards democracy and political action when they were given the chance. Up to that point young voters across the UK were turning their backs on formal party politics. The politicians who saw this should bear witness in Westminster and ensure 16 and 17 year olds are enfranchised not just in Scotland but across the country.

Today’s Holyrood vote shows the way towards a fair franchise. Now we need a national conversation among citizens about what kind of democracy we want to be – to bring the constitutional debates on who can vote, devolution, the EU, and our broken voting system together.”

Commenting on Westminster MPs’ rejection of votes at 16 (310 votes to 265, 16:22), Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said:

Today’s vote at Westminster was a huge missed opportunity for our democracy, and we hope MPs will rethink the decision to exclude well over a million young people from the EU referendum. There is still time for this decision to be reversed while the Bill is going through, particularly after today’s precedent-setting example in Holyrood when Scottish MSPs voted to extend the franchise to 16 and 17 year olds”

“Nonetheless, the vote in Holyrood sets a fantastic example to the rest of the UK – and is a precedent in favour of a fair franchise. Scotland is leading the way in Britain when it comes to youth engagement, and it’s time for the rest of the UK to catch up. With 16 and 17 year olds getting the vote in Scotland, and soon Wales, Westminster shouldn’t let this become an issue which drives a wedge between the nations of the UK. 16 and 17 year olds deserve a vote in the upcoming EU referendum.

“We should have a UK-wide franchise which is open, democratic and which sends a positive message to our young people that their opinions genuinely count. It’s time for a genuinely ‘one nation’ franchise which engages our young people, instead of excluding them. This EU referendum is a real chance to follow the success of the Scottish referendum in giving 16 and 17 year olds a say in a decision which will massively impact their futures.”

For further quotes or to set up an interview, contact:

Notes

EU referendum: MPs should be given free vote on extending franchise to 16 and 17 year olds

11th June 2015
11 Jun 2015

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Electoral Reform Society notice, 11/06/2015 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, 12:10

Contact: Josiah Mortimer, josiah.mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk - 07454 397 816 / 020 3714 4079

Commenting on the news that the government will give MPs a vote [1] on giving 16 and 17 year olds a vote in the upcoming EU referendum, Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said:

“It’s great news that the Prime Minister has said he supports offering MPs a vote on whether 16 and 17 year olds will be able to take part in the EU referendum.

“We hope that the government will make it a free vote – this is an issue many MPs and constituents feel very strongly about, and there should be an open debate on this issue. The Prime Minister suggested it would be a conscience vote earlier in the year, and we hope he sticks to this. 

“This referendum is a real opportunity to give 16 and 17 year olds a chance to decide on an issue which really affects them – covering housing, our environment, jobs, migration and a whole host of pressing topics which matter to young people. 

“16 and 17 year olds threw themselves wholeheartedly into the Scottish referendum, with 75% voting and 97% saying they would vote in future elections. There’s no reason why 16 and 17 year olds across the UK should be denied a similar vote in the EU referendum and get the chance to engage with British democracy.

“Hundreds of thousands more young people are set to be given the franchise for local and nationwide elections in Wales and Scotland. It would be absurd if those same young people were denied a vote in the upcoming EU referendum. But it would also be an injustice if they were given votes at 16 and not the million or more others across the UK.

“With 16 and 17 year olds getting the vote in Scotland and Wales, the government shouldn’t let this become an issue which drives a wedge between the nations of the UK. We should have a UK-wide franchise which is open, democratic and which sends a positive message to our young people that their opinions genuinely count. It’s time for a genuinely ‘one nation’ franchise. To do that, we need to include the generation that will most strongly feel the impact of the EU vote in the years to come.

“This Commons vote is a real opportunity to discuss the kind of franchise that is right for a 21st century democracy, and the way forwards is clear. Westminster should follow the suit of Scotland and Wales in giving 16 and 17 year olds a say on their country’s constitutional future. This vote is a welcome step forward in the push for a truly inclusive franchise.”

For more information, quotes or to arrange interviews, contact Josiah Mortimer, josiah.mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk - 07454 397 816 / 020 3714 4079

Notes

[1] In Wednesday’s Prime Minister’s Questions: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-33082124

​​Report highlights ‘divisive and disproportionate’ voting system – and how election could have been different

1st June 2015
1 Jun 2015

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Electoral Reform Society notice, 29/05/2015 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Monday 1st June, 08:00

The report is now LIVE and available here.

​Contact: Josiah Mortimer, josiah.mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk - 07454 397 816 / 020 3714 4079

 

  • Definitive report on May 7th highlights least proportional result in UK electoral history
  • Exclusive YouGov study for the ERS will show results under fairer voting systems
  • First Past the Post is ‘breaking up Britain’ by creating artificial divisions, analysis shows

The failure of Britain’s voting system will be laid bare on Monday, when the Electoral Reform Society will release their definitive report on the General Election.

The report, titled ‘The 2015 General Election: A Voting System in Crisis’, will reveal how this election was the most disproportionate in British electoral history, according to new analysis.

Key findings:

  • 50% of votes in the election (22m) went to losing candidates, while 74% of votes (15m) were ‘wasted’ [1] 
  • 2.8m voters were likely to have voted ‘tactically’ – over 9% of voters [2]
  • Under a more proportional voting system – the Single Transferable Vote – the Conservatives would have won 276 seats to Labour’s 236, while the SNP would have secured 34, UKIP 54 and the Lib Dems 26. The Greens would have won two more seats – in Bristol and London
  • The ERS was able to call the winner correctly in 363 of 368 seats - a month before polling day - due to the prevalence of ‘safe seats’ under First Past the Post
  • This election saw an MP win on the lowest vote share in electoral history – 24.5% in South Belfast
  • 331 of 650 MPs were elected on under 50% of the vote, and 191 with less than 30% of the electorate.

The report will, for the first time, conclusively reveal how the 2015 General Election would have looked different under other voting systems - based on polling of over 40,000 people’s [3] party preferences for the ERS by YouGov.

As well as this exclusive new polling, A Voting System in Crisis argues that the voting system is contributing to the break-up of the UK, artificially inflating divisions and leading to a ‘postcode electoral lottery’ where parties are excluded in one area and over-represented in another [4]. Millions of people’s voices are being excluded simply because of where they live, the report argues.

Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the ERS, said: “This report shows definitively that our voting system is bust. May 7th was the most disproportionate election in British history – and it’s about time we had a fairer system for electing our MPs.

 “That nearly three quarters of votes were wasted this election shows that we have a democratic crisis on our hands, with most people’s votes not counting. We have an archaic and divisive voting system that leaves millions disenfranchised and forces millions more to feel that they have to vote for a ‘lesser evil’ – instead of who they really support. The Greens and UKIP won 5m votes and just two seats between them. This is simply unsustainable – and can only end badly.  

 “First Past the Post is artificially dividing the UK – giving the SNP nearly all Scottish seats on half the vote, while excluding Labour from the South of England and over-representing them in Wales and under-representing the Conservatives in the North of England and Scotland. At the same time, cross-community parties in Northern Ireland got a tenth of the vote and no seats, yet the DUP received nearly half the seats on just a quarter of the vote. This situation is unsustainable if the Prime Minister truly wants a ‘one nation’ Britain. Our voting system is breaking up Britain.

“The number of votes cast for parties other than the three main parties rose to its highest ever level on May 7th – the dawn of truly multi-party politics, but voters are being held back by an archaic and broken voting system designed for two-party politics.

“This report lays out the problem – and the alternatives. We can’t afford to see a repeat of the 2015 election, with the majority of MPs elected on less than half the vote and a government winning a majority on just over a third of votes. The government now needs to act to ensure people aren’t driven even further from politics. As we’ve shown today, democracy doesn’t have to be like this. It’s time for our voting system to move into the 21stcentury.” 

For more information or quotes and to line up interviews, contact Josiah Mortimer on josiah.mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk, 020 3714 4079 or 07454 397816. 

Spokespeople will be available throughout Monday.

Notes

[1] This includes votes over the number needed to elect the MP.

[2] BMG Research conducted a representative pre-election poll of 1,013 adults.

[3] The results of the General Election under different voting systems, as modelled based on YouGov research. For more tables and regional breakdowns contact Josiah Mortimer.

[4] It draws on the fact that the SNP won 95% of Scottish seats on half the vote – leaving unionist sentiment in Scotland almost completely unrepresented, while at the same time the Labour party was locked out of the South of England – winning just 8 seats in the South East and South West despite getting nearly a fifth of the vote. The Conservative Party won 15% of votes in Scotland but only 1 seat for the second election running. Equally, cross-community parties were kept out in Northern Ireland (Alliance received 9% of the vote and no seats), and Labour were greatly overrepresented in Wales. This reflects what the ERS have called a ‘divisive’ voting system.

The report is now available here: http://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/sites/default/files/2015%20General%20Election%20Report%20web.pdf

For print copies, email charley.jarrett@electoral-reform.org.uk

Party donation figures: we need reform to stop ‘unsustainable’ funding race

28th May 2015
28 May 2015

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Responding to the Electoral Commission’s new figures on donations to parties in the run-up to the General Election [1], Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said:

The fact that there have been political donations of over £100m in a single year shows the need for urgent political reform of the party funding system. 

With this figure covering only donations over £7,500, it seems that this was a high-spending election, and parties were racing to splash the most cash. 2014 saw the most received gifts in the year before an election in UK history – a clear sign that we need to clean up our act on party funding. And while £19.3m was raised in the first quarter of the 2010 election, it went up to £30.6m this year – a 59% increase.

“Today’s figures on donations in the year up to May 7th show a 39% increase in donations on 2010, and more than double the donations in the year up to 2005, even with inflation taken into account. This is simply unsustainable.

“We can’t continue to have a race to spend the most, with parties increasingly relying on a small number of powerful wealthy backers – whether that’s big organisations or rich individuals. 75% of the public believe big donors have too much influence on our political parties, and 61% believe the system of party funding is corrupt and should be changed.

“Voters will continue to lose faith in our parties are obsessed with pandering to big backers instead of millions of ordinary people. We need a cap on the amount that individuals and groups can donate to a party, to end the big-donor culture that has led to scandal after scandal. An increased element of public funding for parties, to bring the UK into line with other advanced democracies and a cap on the amount that parties are allowed to spend would put a stop to the arms race between parties at election time. Otherwise, 2020 will see an even more unscrupulous dash for cash that will drive even more voters away from politics.”

Note

[1] http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/journalist/electoral-commission-media-centre/news-releases-donations/political-parties-latest-donations-and-borrowing-figures-published19

Report launch: The 2015 General Election - A Voting System in Crisis

28th May 2015
28 May 2015

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Electoral Reform Society notice, FAO Forward Planning Desks

Contact: Josiah Mortimer, josiah.mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk - 07454 397 816 / 020 3714 4079

www.electoral-reform.org.uk

Release date: Monday 1st June 2015, 00:01. To be published online and in print

  • Definitive report on May 7th result highlights least proportional result in UK electoral history
  • Exclusive YouGov study for the ERS will show result under fairer voting systems
  • First Past the Post is ‘breaking up Britain’ by creating artificial divisions, analysis shows

The failure of Britain’s voting system will be laid bare on Monday, when the Electoral Reform Society will release their definitive report on the General Election.

The report, titled ‘The 2015 General Election: A Voting System in Crisis’, will reveal how this election was the most disproportionate in British electoral history, according to new analysis.

It will also, for the first time, conclusively reveal how the election would have looked different under other voting systems - based on polling of over 40,000 people’s party preferences for the ERS by YouGov.

As well as this exclusive new polling, A Voting System in Crisis argues that the voting system is even contributing to the break-up of the UK, artificially inflating divisions and leading to a ‘postcode electoral lottery’ where parties are excluded in one area and over-represented in another. Millions of people’s voices are being excluded simply because of where they live, the report argues.

It draws on the fact that the SNP won 95% of Scottish seats on half the vote – leaving unionist sentiment in Scotland almost completely unrepresented, while at the same time the Labour party was locked out of the South of England – winning just 8 seats in the South East and South West despite getting nearly a fifth of the vote. Equally, cross-community parties were kept out in Northern Ireland under Britain’s divisive voting system, and Labour were greatly overrepresented in Wales.

The number of votes cast for parties other than the three main UK wide parties rose to its highest ever level on May 7th – the dawn of ‘truly multi-party politics’, but a politics operating under what the ERS describe as an ‘archaic and broken voting system’.

The report will show the shocking number and percentage of votes which went to losing candidates and were effectively wasted. It will also reveal the number/percentage of MPs who were elected without a majority of votes, as well as the stunningly low number of MPs who actually secured a majority from the overall electorate.

For more information and to discuss receiving an embargoed advance copy, contact Josiah Mortimer on josiah.mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk, 020 3714 4079 or 07454 397816

Notes

The report will go live on Monday 1st June at http://electoral-reform.org.uk/publications

For print copies, email charley.jarrett@electoral-reform.org.uk

Votes at 16 for Holyrood but not EU referendum would be 'gross injustice'

28th May 2015
28 May 2015

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Commenting on today’s launch of the EU Referendum Bill [1] in Westminster and the Holyrood bill on votes for 16 and 17 years olds [2], Willie Sullivan, Director of the Electoral Reform Society Scotland, said:

“It’s very welcome news that today the Scottish Parliament looks set to back the principle of giving 16 and 17 year olds to vote in Scottish elections.

“16 and 17 year olds threw themselves wholeheartedly into the Scottish referendum and proved themselves to be highly politically engaged and aware. There are no excuses left now for not giving them a vote for all other elections in Scotland.

“If that is true of all other elections, it must be true for EU referendum, and Westminster must now let youth have a voice. It would be a gross generational injustice if the very same young people will get a vote in all Scottish elections, but not the vote on Britain’s membership of the EU. For ermine-robed Lords to be specifically allowed to vote but not the generation who helped bring such vitality to the Scottish Referendum would be democratic negligence at its worst.

“Young Scots turned towards democracy and political action when they were given the chance. Up to that point young voters across the UK were turning their backs on formal party politics. The politicians who saw this should bear witness in Westminster and ensure 16 and 17 year olds are enfranchised not just in Scotland but across the country.

“Today’s Holyrood vote shows the way towards a fair franchise. Now we need a national conversation among citizens about what kind of democracy we want to be – to bring the constitutional debates on who can vote, devolution, the EU and our broken voting system together.”

For more information, quotes or interviews contact Josiah Mortimer (josiah.mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk / 07454397816 – 020 3714 4079)

Notes

[1] http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2015-16/europeanunionreferendum.html

[2] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-32908323

Denying young people a vote for EU referendum would be 'gross injustice'

28th May 2015
28 May 2015

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Commenting on today’s launch of the EU Referendum Bill today [1], Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said:

“This EU referendum is a real opportunity to give 16 and 17 year olds a voice. Denying 1.5m young people a vote would be a massive missed opportunity to engage more people with our democracy. 

“16 and 17 year olds threw themselves wholeheartedly into the Scottish referendum and proved themselves to be highly politically engaged and aware. It would be a gross injustice if many of those same young people are able to vote in next year’s Scottish parliamentary elections election following today’s progress on the issue at Holyrood [2] but not in the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union.

“The government must now let our young people make their voices heard. The government is legislating to allow votes from members of our archaic House of Lords, who are barred from voting at General Elections, yet are thus far refusing to engage a huge swathe of engaged young citizens. This is democratic negligence at its worst.

“Young Scots turned towards democracy and political action when they were given the chance. The politicians who saw this should bear witness in Westminster and ensure 16 and 17 year olds are enfranchised not just in Scotland but across the country.

“The way towards a fair franchise is clear – and with politicians at Holyrood giving unanimous backing today to the principle of giving 16 and 17 year olds’ voting rights,  Westminster should follow suit, with this referendum being a real opportunity to discuss the kind of franchise that is right for a 21st century democracy

For more information, quotes or interviews contact Josiah Mortimer (josiah.mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk / 07454397816 – 020 3714 4079)

Notes

[1] http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2015-16/europeanunionreferendum.html

[2] The Scottish Parliament this afternoon unanimously passed the Scottish Elections (Reduction of Voting Age) Bill at Stage 1, meaning it will now move to Stage 2 in Holyrood, where amendments can be submitted by MSPs. The Bill is now almost certain to pass. For more information on the move see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-32908323

Queen’s Speech: It’s time for a national debate on our constitution

27th May 2015
27 May 2015

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Statement from the Electoral Reform Society, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 27/05/2015, 12:00

Contact: Josiah Mortimer (josiah.mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk – 07454397816 / 020 3714 4079)

Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the ERS, commented: “Today’s Queen’s Speech reflects the fact that this will be a very constitutionally-focused Parliament.

“With serious constitutional issues on the table such as Britain’s position in Europe, city devolution, the implementation of the Smith Commission and more powers for Wales, Britain’s democratic future will be fiercely debated – and significantly affected by this Parliament.

This Queen’s Speech is packed with constitutional issues but has missed a massive opportunity to re-engage younger people with politics. The EU Referendum Bill will lock out 16 and 17 year olds from a say in the future of their country – despite this age-group being given a vote in the Scottish referendum. Young people took their democratic rights incredibly seriously in the Scottish referendum, proving that this generation will get involved when they’re given a voice. Yet the government has decided instead to give members of the House of Lords a vote in the referendum rather than offering 1.5m 16 and 17 year olds a say.’

While more powers for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are to be welcomed, we need a national debate about the changing nature of the union. We shouldn’t alter our democratic make-up in a piece-meal fashion and with little direction – instead we need a Constitutional Convention of ordinary citizens to bring the debate on devolution together. City devolution also needs to involve citizens, instead of having top-down models imposed on local people without consultation.

“Finally, there was a lot this Queen’s Speech didn’t cover. May 7th was the most disproportionate election result in British history [1] – with five million people voting for the Greens and UKIP but getting just two seats between them, while Labour’s vote share increased yet they lost 26 seats, and the SNP won 95% of Scottish seats on half the popular vote. We need a fair voting system where seats match votes.

“On all these issues, we need a national conversation to avoid drifting from one constitutional set-up to another. It’s time to involve the public in a serious constitutional conversation on devolution, who should be able to vote, and how we elect our MPs.”

For quotes, interviews or more information contact Josiah Mortimer (josiah.mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk / 07454397816 - 020 3714 4079)

Notes

The ERS will be publishing our definitive report on the 2015 General Election next Monday, including exclusive YouGov polling on what the result would have looked like under different voting systems. Contact Josiah Mortimer for more information or to discuss receiving an advanced copy.