ERS in the Press – January 2020

Jon Narcross, former Communications Officer

Posted on the 7th February 2020

Following December’s General Election we have continued to make the case for a fairer, proportional voting system, highlighting the warped nature of December’s results and the negative effect of First Past the Post on our politics.

We signed a letter in the Guardian along with other democracy campaigners calling for proportional representation and are calls for reform were featured in pieces in The London Economic and the New European.

Labour Leadership Election

This month we’ve focussed much of our work on influencing the Labour leadership contest to gain firm commitments from the candidates on the issue of democratic renewal and electoral reform. Since the contest launched we’ve seen commitments to reform from all the remaining candidates and our work was featured in a column by Polly Toynbee in the Guardian.

We worked with Open Labour to hold a hustings event for the Labour leadership contest which put democracy front and centre of the debate.

As part of this we issued a call to all the candidates to back electoral reform and make it a key part of Labour’s platform going forward and the hustings itself saw candidates talk positively about the need for democratic and electoral reform.

Votes at 16

We commented on the passing of a bill in Wales to give 16- and 17-year olds the vote in Assembly and Local elections – a key campaign priority of ERS Cymru with Jess Blair commenting in Wales Online:

“This is a real step forward for young people across Wales, and a real campaign victory. 16- and 17-year olds will now rightly have a say over critical issues that affect their future, such as health, education and the economy. As we’ve already seen in Scotland, this is a boost for our democracy as a whole – strengthening citizenship and boosting political engagement.”

Our commentary on the bill was also featured in the London Economic, and the National.

 House of Lords

We continued to make the case for an elected second chamber in a month that saw new, unelected peers appointed to the Lords. In response to the ennoblement of former MPs Zac Goldsmith and Nicky Morgan we called for the government to call time on the unelected private members club and bring forward plans for a reformed, elected upper house – a call featured in the Daily Mail and on the Huffington Post. We also called out new figures published in PoliticsHome showing how skewed appointments to the Lords are, with 45% of Peers coming from London and the South East.

We criticised the Government’s proposal to move the House of Lords to York as ‘tinkering’ with Willie Sullivan writing a letter in the Times and a piece for arguing that it will take more than moving the Lords up North to fix the broken chamber.

Our commentary on the proposals was also featured in the Express, the Mirror and the Daily Mail.

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