Labour believes that the first-past-the-post electoral system should be replaced with a proportional electoral system for future elections to the UK Parliament

Posted on 19-06-16 by Daniel Wright Number of votes: 274 | Number of comments: 66

The first-past-the-post electoral system should be replaced with a proportional system, so that the number of seats a party receives is more proportional to the amount of votes it receives.

The Labour Party notes that:

  • The current first-past-the-post (FPTP) electoral system has given the Conservative Party a ten seat majority; 51% MPs on just 37% of the vote, and with the support of only 24% of the electorate.
  • Polls show there is overwhelming public support for proportional representation (PR), with 57-74% of voters supporting the idea that the number of seats a party gets should broadly reflect its proportion of the total votes cast.
  • The TUC is drawing up a report and the STUC have resolved to support a more proportional system for Westminster elections.
  • The Labour Party played a leading role in introducing proportional electoral systems to the UK's devolved parliaments and assemblies in Scotland, Wales and London, and proportional electoral systems are in use in 87% of OECD countries, and across the rest of the world.
  • The Labour Party Constitution (specifically Clause IV, Pt. 2C) commits Labour, as a democratic socialist party, to supporting: "An Open Democracy, in which government is held to account by the people, decisions are taken as far as practicable by the communities they affect and where fundamental human rights are guaranteed."

The Labour Party believes that:

  • FPTP has contributed to growing political disenchantment by producing low turnout, low registration, and outcomes unrelated to support, thereby undermining the legitimacy of the UK Parliament.
  • Concentrating resources on marginal seats and swing voters has damaged our appeal and encouraged us to take our core vote for granted.
  • The MP-constituency link is seen by many as a valuable part of our democracy and can be preserved within a proportional electoral system, including numerous proportional voting systems in use around the world and within the UK.

The Labour Party therefore resolves:

  • To reconsider its current policy on the voting system used to elect MPs.
  • To support a 2020 Manifesto commitment to future parliamentary elections being carried out using a proportional electoral system.
  • To, once in government, support the adoption of a more proportional system, possibly through the mechanism of a Constitutional Convention.

For more information or to become involved in the Labour campaign for proportional representation, please visit Make Votes Matter and the Labour Campaign for Electoral Reform.

Referring to: Justice and Home Affairs

The Justice and Home Affairs Policy Commission examines Labour thinking on issues such as policing, the justice system, immigration and asylum, and political and constitutional reform.

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