Keir Starmer announces support for constitutional convention and proportional representation

Posted on the 31st January 2020

  • Statement for immediate release from the Electoral Reform Society – Friday 31 January.
  • Contact Jon Narcross, / 07794728820 for interviews or more information.

The Electoral Reform Society has welcomed an announcement today from Sir Keir Starmer on 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, the frontrunner in the Labour leadership election announced his support for a constitutional convention and the need for a fairer, proportional voting system [1].

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 voice 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.”

Commenting on Starmer’s announcement Willie Sullivan, Senior Director (Campaigns), Electoral Reform Society said:

“It’s great to hear Keir Starmer coming out in support of a constitutional convention and electoral reform and putting it as a key part of his leadership platform.

“The UK remains the only country in Europe to use First Past the Post. A Labour leader serious about redistributing power must make tackling the democratic crisis a priority.

“Recent polling shows that just 16% of the public think politics is working well which should come as no surprise. At the last election 14.5 million voters saw their votes go to waste and found themselves unrepresented in Parliament.

“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.”


Notes to editors

[1] Sir Keir Starmer’s speech (Constitution reform question at 11.39am)

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