Westminster’s broken voting system set to dramatically skew Scottish results in a General Election

Posted on the 8th October 2018

  • Statement from Politics For The Many and the Electoral Reform Society, for immediate release.
  • For more information contact mediaoffice@electoral-reform.org.uk

Labour’s Westminster representation would be almost halved in Scotland in a fresh General Election, despite securing over a quarter of the popular vote, according to projections based on new polling.

Labour won seven seats on 24.3% of the vote in 2017. Yet analysis by Elections Maps UK predicts that were a Westminster election to be held now, Labour would secure a higher vote (26%) – but just four MPs [1].

Meanwhile, the Conservative Party would be set to secure 12 MPs with 28% of the vote – triple the representation for just two points more support. Campaigners Politics for the Many [2] say it is down to Westminster’s ‘undemocratic and out-of-date’ winner-takes-all voting system.

The SNP would be the biggest beneficiaries of Westminster’s disproportionate voting system, winning in 39 of Scotland’s 59 constituencies on just 37% of the vote.

Politics For The Many, the trade unionist campaign for political reform, said the predictions show the need for Westminster to adopt a fair, proportional voting system like in Holyrood (the proportional ‘top up’ AMS system) or for local councils elections (the ranked-choice Single Transferable Vote system).

Lynn Henderson, President of the Scottish Trades Union Congress, and supporter of Politics For The Many, said:

“This is yet more evidence that Westminster’s political system is in dire need of an overhaul. Were a General Election to be held now, the Conservatives would win three times as many seats as Labour on a similar level of popular support, simply because the Tories’ vote is more concentrated in certain areas. The one-party-takes-all voting system is bust.

“Scottish voters are used to getting fair representation in Holyrood and on local councils, thanks to proportional voting systems that ensure that parties’ levels of support is reflected in the number of seats they get.

“Yet at Westminster, people’s voices are routinely silenced by the undemocratic relic that is First Past the Post. This survey highlights the kind of gross electoral injustice that is built into Westminster’s broken voting system. It is a recipe for alienation, with communities ignored by opposition parties in ‘unwinnable’ seats, and taken for granted in so-called ‘safe seats’.

“We urgently need political reform – including the introduction of a fair voting system for Westminster – to give power to the many and ensure voters’ voices are heard.”

The predicted results were based on Survation/Panelbase polls.


Notes to Editors

[1] https://twitter.com/ElectionMapsUK/status/1049272261394485248 and https://twitter.com/ElectionMapsUK/status/1049273124758441984

[2] Politics For The Many is the trade union campaign for political reform: https://politicsforthemany.co.uk


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