How the 2019 election results could have looked with proportional representation

Electoral Reform Society,

Posted on the 13th December 2019

Ever wondered how the 2019 General Election result would have come out with a form of proportional representation?

The Single Transferable Vote (STV) is a form of proportional representation used in Northern Ireland for all non-Westminster elections, Scottish local elections, the Republic of Ireland, Malta and the Australian Senate.

STV ensures that very few votes are ignored when compared with FPTP. It also ensures maximum voter choice, as electors can rank their choices both within and between parties and independents. As a slate of MPs is elected from a slightly larger area than under FPTP, STV also keeps the constituency link while ensuring that the diversity of opinion in the country is fairly represented in parliament.

The 2019 General Elections in Great Britain under proportional representation (STV)

Seats under STV Difference in Seats from FPTP
Conservative 312 -53
Labour 221 +18
Liberal Democrat 59 +48
Scottish National Party 30 -18
Plaid Cymru 5 +1
Brexit Party 3 +3
Green Party 2 +1
Northern Ireland Parties 18 18
Total 650

The Northern Ireland Parties are grouped together as we did not have a sufficient sample size to model the results. We include votes for the Speaker in the Labour figure in the projection to ensure results reflect the fact that the Speaker’s constituency was a Labour seat prior to him taking on this role.

Our STV projection shows a result that is more proportional and more in line with how people voted at the 2019 general election. Based on our projection, the Conservative Party secures 312 MPs (49.4% of all GB MPs), just shy of a majority of seats in the House of Commons and more in line with their percentage of the vote in Great Britain (44.7%).

Though Labour and the Conservatives slightly outperform their vote share in terms of seats, smaller parties’ seat share in our model is much more similar to how people actually voted at the election, with the Liberal Democrats making significant gains in our projection (an additional 48 MPs, leading them to have 9.3% of seats on 11.8% of the vote).

No government should be able to win a big majority on a minority of the vote. Westminster’s voting system is warping our politics beyond recognition and we’re all paying the price. Under proportional voting systems, seats would more closely match votes, and we could end the scourge of millions feeling unrepresented and ignored.

Parties like the Greens and Brexit Party won huge numbers of votes and almost no representation. The Lib Dems saw a surge in votes and their number of seats fall. Something is very clearly wrong.

Voters in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are used to using more democratic voting systems – and having a more cooperative politics as a result.  Westminster’s system is built on confrontation and warped results, but we can do better than this. We can move to a fairer system, restoring trust in politics and building a better democracy at the same time.

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