20 years of fairer representation on the London Assembly – and over a decade of local PR in Scotland

Posted on the 4th May 2020

  • Statement from the Electoral Reform Society for immediate release, 4th May 2020

Today marks 20 years since voters first used a proportional voting system for the London Assembly. 

The Electoral Reform Society has published new analysis outlining the impact a fairer electoral system has had for voters in the capital [1].

Sunday (3rd) also marked 13 years since Scotland switched [2] to the Single Transferable Vote [3] for local elections – a move which has led to successful power-sharing, more choice, and fairer representation for voters in the nation.

This Wednesday (6th) marks a year until the delayed London Assembly elections, as well as PCCs, Welsh Senedd, and Scottish Parliament elections.

This Thursday (7th) would have seen local elections in England, as well as the London Assembly elections.

The ERS is calling for England to switch to a system of proportional representation for local elections, to ensure every vote counts equally and open up ‘local one-party states’ to competition and scrutiny.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, legislation was progressing in Wales which would allow councils to use PR (STV) for local elections. It has been temporarily postponed.

The Society notes:

“If the London Assembly had been elected using solely FPTP, then the voters of parties other than Labour and Conservative would have gone completely unrepresented across the 20 years since the Assembly was founded.

“This would have been a travesty, given the relatively high levels of support other parties have received during that time – particularly as the London Mayor has usually represented either the Labour or Conservative parties…

“Fortunately, the Additional Member part of the Assembly voting system has ensured that other parties’ voters have achieved representation on the body. For example, across five elections, 15 Liberal Democrat Additional Member AMs have been elected, 11 Green Additional Member AMs, 4 UKIP Additional Member AMs.

“Representatives of at least four parties have been elected at each Assembly election and five parties have been represented at three out of the five elections, including the last election in 2016. This is a far fairer outcome for voters than would have been the case if the Assembly was elected using FPTP alone.”

London would have been effectively a ‘one-party state’ without a proportional voting system, with scrutiny much reduced.


Notes to Editors

[1] https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/fairer-results-and-real-representation-20-years-of-pr-on-the-london-assembly/

[2] https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/looking-back-at-a-decade-of-proportional-representation-for-local-elections-in-scotland/

[3] https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/voting-systems/types-of-voting-system/single-transferable-vote/

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