Today in the Daily Mail the journalist Brendan Carlin (shown on the left) wrote an article entitled Tory election planners fear Labour will back bid to axe ‘first-past-the-post’ system next month – risking a ‘coalition of chaos’ that could lock Conservatives out of power for a generation and the Tory MP who he referred to was Richard Holden who is the MP for North West Durham (shown on the right). He was the first ever Tory MP for North West Durham. He obtained 19,900 votes and the next candidate which was the previous Labour MP Laura Pidcock obtained 18,846 votes and the two of them together received 81.4% of all of the votes. Back in 2017 the Labour MP obtained 25,308 votes and the previous Conservative candidate was Sally-Ann Hart who is now the MP for Hastings and Rye. Sally-Ann Hart obtained 16,516 votes and the two of them obtained 87.3% of the votes at that stage. The people who voted in both of those occasions reflected less than 67% of the people entitled to vote in that constituency so if all the residents voted the result could have been very different. Along with the people who don’t vote on many occasions if we observe the votes in other regions we can see very clearly why Proportional Representation is vital for many of our regions in the UK. Here are the results from Sussex, Surrey and Kent based on who voted in 2017 and 2019.
Kent represents 18 MPs and in 2017 and 2019 there were 17 Conservative MPs and 1 Labour MP so the Conservatives obtained 94% of the MPs and Labour obtained 6% of the MPs. In 2017 the Conservatives obtained 57% of the votes and Labour obtained 31% and the Lib Dems obtained 6% and the Greens 2%. In 2019 the results were Conservative 61%, Labour 25%, Lib Dems 11% and Greens 3%.
Sussex represents 16 MPs and in 2017 there were 12 Conservative, 2 Labour, 1 Lib Dem and 1 Green MP and in 2019 there were 13 Conservatives, 2 Labour and 1 Green MP. The votes in 2017 represented Conservative 51%, Labour 31%, Lib Dem 11% and Green 5%. The votes in 2019 represented Conservative 51%, Labour 25%, Lib Dem 17% and Green 7%.
Surrey represents 11 MPs and in both 2017 and 2019 there were 11 Conservative MPs. Yet the votes in 2017 were Conservative 59%, Labour 21%, Lib Dem 13% and Green 2% and the votes in 2019 were Conservative 55%, Labour 13%, Lib Dem 29% and Green 3%
So this is a very clear argument for the Kent, Surrey and Sussex areas to benefit from a very different approach to the First Past the Post arrangement given that a total of 56% of Conservative votes have led to a total of 89% or 91% of the MPs and that the Labour votes have represented 28% or 22% and yet their MPs represent merely 7% of the MPs and the Lib Dems have benefited from 10% or 18% and they have only achieved 2% of the MPs in 2017 when they got 10% of the votes and yet they got no MPs when they received 18% of the regions votes. The Greens achieved 3% or 5% of the votes and 2% of the MPs so that is reasonably close in our region. However if one was to observe other locations they never got any Green MPs anywhere else in the UK.
According to the article yesterday in the Daily Mail
Richard Holden, said: ‘Sir Keir Starmer knows Labour could never win a majority under his lacklustre leadership and Labour’s union paymasters know it too. ‘That’s why they are calling for unity with the Lib Dems to change the rules so that Labour can sneak in, propped up by the Lib Dems and SNP, via the back door.’
He added: ‘Rather than trying to fiddle with Britain’s democratic system, the public would rather Labour and the unions concentrated on preventing strike action that cripples our public services.’ However, Tory fears over PR will embolden Labour activists who are pushing for their party’s annual conference next month to vote to include a switch to proportional representation in Labour’s next General Election manifesto. The move follows a similar motion at last year’s conference which only failed to pass after opposition from the unions.
The article on Daily Mail was promoted by someone on Twitter called Rosemary who I have been aware of her because she is a supporter of the Proportional Representation. When she shared the Daily Mail piece she stated
A referendum would be good if our media could be trusted to explain PR in an honest unbiased way, but they can’t. It would result in an overwhelming number of articles like this and far worse.
If anyone disagrees with Richard Holden or agrees with Rosemary, there is a petition available here https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/619684 that is one way of promoting a PR approach and if we can get it signed by enough people, the Government will need to respond to it. There have been several previous PR petitions in the past. In 2016 one took place with 17,500 signatures and then towards the end of 2016 another one emerged that reached 103,500 signatures. In 2020 another one achieved just over 10,000 signatures and then at the end of 2020 one started that reached 7,500 signatures. This current one is still quite recent and it has only got a few hundred signatures. It would be fantastic if we could reach at least 10,000 signatures.
Hold a referendum on changing the voting system to proportional representation
Hold a referendum on implementing proportional representation for General Elections. The current First Past The Post system is no longer fit for purpose, governments should be more accountable. A more balanced electoral system is needed to restore the integrity and accountability of Parliament.
Governments have run this country on party lines and have failed to uphold standards in public life. Major parties are able to use technology, the media and the current First Past The Post system to retain power and quash alternative opposition. The electorate needs Members in Parliament that represent them and their needs and wishes, to restore integrity and accountability. The only way to achieve this is a proportional representation electoral system.