Parliament to debate scrapping Westminster’s voting system

Posted on the 30th October 2017

MPs will discuss need for proportional representation in Westminster Hall, after petition calling for reform hits 100,000 signatures.

  • Statement from the Electoral Reform Society, for immediate release, 30th October 2017
  • Darren Hughes is available for interviews. For more information, contact mediaoffice@electoral-reform.org.uk or 07717211630

MPs will debate scrapping Westminster’s First Past the Post voting system on Monday, after a petition calling for proportional representation hit 100,000 signatures [1].

The debate, scheduled to begin around 4:30pm, will see MPs from across the House discuss the motion: “To make votes matter, adopt Proportional Representation for UK General Elections.”

The Electoral Reform Society are calling for Westminster to adopt a proportional voting system where seats match votes cast – such as Scotland and Northern Ireland’s Single Transferable Vote.

Darren Hughes, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society:

“After the third election in a row which failed to produce a decisive result, it’s welcome news that electoral reform is back on the agenda. First Past the Post is failing on its own terms –and June was its third strike.

“The arguments for fair votes are stronger than ever. Millions of votes were thrown on the electoral scrapheap in June’s election: 68% of ballots had no impact on the result. That’s 22 million votes going to waste [2].

“First Past the Post, far from being ‘strong and stable’, is a recipe for volatility and random results. Just 0.0016% of voters choosing differently would have given the Conservatives a majority, while the election saw rise in very marginal seats: eleven seats were won by fewer than 100 votes.

“June’s vote was the ‘lesser evil’ election. We estimate that one in five people voted tactically, alongside a surge in smaller parties standing aside. That’s no way to run a democracy, and it’s about time we had a voting system fit for the 21st century.

“It’s great news our MPs are now debating the need for fair votes. There is a groundswell of support for this, with over 100,000 demanding that the case PR is heard in Parliament.

“The next step is beginning a process to give voters the democratic system they deserve. It’s time for fair votes.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

[1] https://petition.parliament.uk/archived/petitions/168657

See the ERS’ briefing to MPs: https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Westminster-Hall-PR-debate-briefing.pdf

See the ERS’ blog on the petition: https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/100000-names-for-pr-lets-get-fair-votes-on-parliaments-agenda/

[2] Read the ERS’ full report on the General Election here: https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/latest-news-and-research/publications/the-2017-general-election-report/

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