Keir Starmer’s backing of electoral reform puts democracy at the heart of Labour’s leadership contest
From one Keir to another, support for electoral reform is growing.
Labour Party Leadership frontrunner Sir Keir Starmer this morning announced his support for a constitutional convention and electoral reform to repair Britain’s broken democratic system.
Speaking at an event this morning in central London, Starmer declared his support for a constitutional convention and the need for a fairer, proportional voting system.
In response to a question on his support for constitutional reform Starmer said:
“We do need a constitutional convention. One of the most powerful things coming out of the referendum was the sense that people want decisions to be made closer to them and by them. It was a very, very powerful thing… I think that’s a very powerful message, it’s a socialist message and it’s a Labour message about power coming from bottom up, not top down.
“I also think on electoral reform, we’ve got to address the fact that millions of people vote in safe seats and they feel their vote doesn’t count. That’s got to be addressed. We will never get full participation in our electoral system until we do that at every level.”
There has been much talk of a ‘democratic revolution’ or ‘democratic renewal from the leadership candidates so far, with former contender Clive Lewis putting the issues of electoral reform front and centre of his bid.
But to hear Keir Starmer coming out explicitly in support of a constitutional convention and electoral reform is a welcome development.
The UK remains the only country in Europe to use First Past the Post. Any Labour leader serious about redistributing power must make tackling the democratic crisis a priority.
Recent polling by BMG for the ERS shows that just 16% of the public think politics is working well which should come as no surprise.
The last election saw the Conservatives gain a majority of seats with a minority of the vote and saw the views of 14.5 million voters (45%) go unrepresented according to ERS analysis
Only serious structural reform can begin to repair this lack of faith in our democracy, a proportional voting system for the Commons and a fairly elected second chamber representing all nations and regions of the UK will give people a voice.
Hopefully, the other candidates will now follow his lead and take the chance to commit to a new Chartism: a democratic movement for the 21st century. Overhauling our crumbling constitution must be at the core of any progressive platform.