PLMR’s Week Ahead in Westminster: 23rd January

Is it time to change our voting system?

With the rise of the Green Party, UKIP and the SNP, British politics is changing and we seem to be moving towards a multi-party system. So much so that it is estimated around third of voters won’t choose one of the two main parties in May.

As a result, it is argued we should change from First Past the Post to a proportional representation (PR) or hybrid system, where the number of votes a party gains corresponds more directly to the number of seats they win.

Rob Comba spoke to Chris Terry from the Electoral Reform Society, Nick Tyrone from Centre Forum and Patrick Sullivan from Parliament Street to get their thoughts on electoral reform.

Rob asks Chris whether the rise of the smaller parties mean we should now change the voting system?

Chris thinks so. He says that at the general election, because of First Past the Post, the SNP could, say, win a large number of seats with a small number of votes, whereas the Greens or UKIP could see their fortunes go in a completely different way.

What’s the best alternative to First Past the Post?

Chris says the Electoral Reform Society support the Single Transferable Vote, a system of proportional representation which still maintains a constituency presence.

Do Nick and Patrick think it’s time for change too?

Patrick is certain that we don’t need to change things around. He says we had the chance to switch to AV a few years and didn’t so why do it now?

What about Nick?

Nick says trying to do it will be nearly impossible, particularly after the failed AV referendum.

What’s good about First Past the Post?

Patrick says the benefit is being able to directly select your own representative

What is so bad about First Past the Post?

According to Nick, it doesn’t suit the multi-party politics which it looks like we currently have in the UK.

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