Hundreds of activists gather to tell MPs to Sort the System

Author:
Jon Narcross, former Communications Officer

Posted on the 26th May 2023

Support for proportional representation is growing.

In the past few months, we’ve seen more and more people saying it’s time for change – the result of widespread concern that Westminster politics isn’t working for ordinary people across the country.

That’s why this week hundreds of activists descended on Westminster demanding MPs of all parties take action in support of PR as part of a mass lobby of Parliament: Sort The System.

The lobby, which saw hundreds of voters from across the country from constituencies as far afield as Suffolk Coastal, Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, Blyth Valley and South East Cornwall met with MPs from every region of the country and every party in Parliament.

Supporters of electoral reform also attended a rally in the Emmanuel Centre to hear from a cross-party platform of speakers about the need to reform Westminster to deliver a system in which all votes count equally.

Speaking at the event, Clive Lewis MP (Labour), said: “The Labour Party is now a party that among the membership and the affiliated unions – after decades are striving – supports Proportional Representation. I can’t tell you how important that is.

“At the 2022 conference, there was no defence of First Past the Post because the arguments have been comprehensively defeated. Everyone in the Labour party knows our politics and our democracy is broken and at the root of that is the voting system.”

Cllr Hina Bokhari AM, (Liberal Democrat) added: “I was elected under the PR system. It means someone like me can get elected as one of the first Muslim women elected to the London Assembly. Thanks to PR I know the Greater London Assembly is truly reflective of London.”

Zack Polanski AM, Deputy leader of Green Party (England & Wales) said: “Key conversations are often missing from the national stage because our politics exists in a vacuum. There is such a narrow focus that issues such as taxing the wealthy, tackling inequality and a positive voice for migrants are often missing from our national stage. Proportional representation will open up our national conversation and that will grow everyone’s trust in politics.”

The lobby comes as public backing for Proportional Representation has never been stronger: polling consistently shows support for a proportional voting system comfortably outstripping support for the status quo.

A new poll released to coincide with the day’s activity in Westminster found that the public supports a move to PR by a margin of more than two to one – including 50% of Labour and 45% of Conservative 2019 voters – with only 1 in 5 saying the UK political system is working well for the people.

The most recent British Social Attitudes survey, a well-respected gauge of national opinion, also found that a majority of people in Britain favour replacing First Past the Post with PR.

As we head towards the next election, we will continue to push political leaders to back reform in their manifestos and build upon the growing support for PR across the country to ensure that the next general election will be the last held under our broken winner takes all system.

Add your name to our call for a proportional parliament

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