We need to reform our voting system to end the chaos of First Past the Post

Doug Cowan, Head of Digital

Posted on the 21st October 2022

As Liz Truss prepares to leave Downing Street, it’s clear where stability lies in the UK. Far from providing ‘Strong and Stable Government’, Britain’s First Past the Post political system has given us three prime ministers in less than three months. Yet while Westminster stumbles from crisis to crisis, proportional representation in Scotland and Wales has delivered stable governments for over 20 years.

That’s because the foundation of political stability is popular support – something not needed under our winner takes all system that sees parties handed large unearned majorities, and the power that comes with them, on with minority support instead.

No party has won a majority of the vote in a UK general election in almost a century, yet due to First Past the Post we have near-constant single-party governments setting the rules for everyone. Our parliaments never represent the views of the public, allowing small cliques to dominate the political agenda.

Millions of people can support one party and get a single MP, while a few hundred thousand people who support a different party can get ten times as many. This leads to a culture of sleaze and cronyism where politics becomes about party power struggles rather than cooperation and consensus or delivering on the priorities of ordinary people.

When elections are all or nothing people will do anything to be the ones that win. But we need our politicians to be coming together to focus on the big issues that face the country, rather than the next short-term victory.

The artificial majorities handed out by Westminster’s voting system give the illusion of strength, but like a house built on sand can quickly collapse.

We need a voting system where every vote counts and politicians are accountable for the people they serve. It’s time we made sure seats match votes.

Add your name: We need a fresh start with proportional representation

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