Labour Party conference backs proportional representation

Doug Cowan, Head of Digital

Posted on the 27th September 2022

In a historic vote, Labour Party Conference has voted for a manifesto commitment to proportional representation for general elections.

This is a massive moment for democracy in the UK. Now all major parties, bar the Conservatives, are united on the need for electoral reform and committed to delivering a fair electoral system where every vote counts.

The motion, backed by Labour party members and affiliated unions called for:

  • Labour to make a commitment to introduce proportional representation for general elections in the next Labour manifesto.
  • During its first term in office the next Labour government must change the voting system for general elections to a form of PR.
  • Labour should convene an open and inclusive process to decide the specific proportional voting system it will introduce.

Last week the long-running British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey found that over half of people (51%) want the electoral system changed, while only 44% want to retain the current system. 

For the first time in the BSA series, more Labour supporters are in favour of changing the system than want to retain the status quo. And the balance of opinion is not even close. Sixty one percent of Labour supporters now favour changing the electoral system, compared with only 34% who favour keeping it.  

In 1997, a majority of Labour’s supporters were opposed to reform – making it easy for Tony Blair’s government to drop the idea. The big difference is that now a majority of Labour supporters are in favour.

Support for proportional representation is now the mainstream of British politics. The public are tired of seeing millions of votes thrown on the scrap heap each election day. Too many voters across the country know who will represent them before a single ballot has been cast.

Support the ERS

As momentum builds for electoral reform, your support is more important than ever. Members support our work in parliament, in the press and at conferences like this one – making the case, and backing it up – for how we can fix Westminster’s broken system.

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