Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Surrinder Chera, chair of the local Make Votes Matter group and the movement’s diversity lead, at a Black History Month meeting last year (photo: MVM).

Petition launched against Priti Patel’s first-past-the-post plan

People in Hastings are being urged to support Make Votes Matter’s petition against Home Secretary Priti Patel’s proposal to impose the first-past-the-post system for mayoral and police and crime commissioner elections. Nick Terdre reports.

Make Votes Matter, which campaigns for the replacement of the first-past-the-post (FPTP)  electoral system by proportional representation (PR), has launched a petition against Home Secretary Priti Patel’s plans to introduce the FPTP system in elections for the Mayor of London, all Metro Mayors and Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC).

Surrinder Chera, chair of the Make Votes Matter local group, said: “We are asking people to sign our petition and send a clear message to the Government not to impose First Past the Post for future mayoral and police and crime commissioner elections.

“This would be a backward step for our democracy and leave millions more voters without a voice in politics, being governed by officials they simply didn’t vote for. We need less First Past the Post in the UK, not more.”

The proposals, which were announced during the last session of Parliament in March, would make it easier for unpopular and highly divisive candidates to get into city and town halls on low levels of voter support, the reform movement says.

Priti Patel claims that this move would bring “strong and clear local accountability, so the public can vote out those who are failing to deliver.” However, the FPTP system allows for candidates to be elected or re-elected with a minority of the votes. The last general election is a good case in point: while receiving 43.6% of the national vote the Tories were attributed a 56.2% share of Parliamentary seats, equivalent to 365 out of 650.

Wera Hobhouse, Liberal Democrat MP for Bath, who in March raised the issue with Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the House of Commons, said: “This back-door move by the Home Secretary to change the current mayoral and police and crime commissioner voting system to the past-its-sell-by-date First Past The Post system is an attack on our democracy.

“Powers over policing and crime in our local communities could be handed to people voted for by very small numbers of the electorate.

“A democracy fit for the 21st century should ensure all voters have a fair say and politicians work on behalf of all of us – not just the minority of voters they need to sneak into office. For a fairer Britain, we need to give voters a chance to make votes matter at the ballot box. Most urgently of all, this means a proportional voting system for British general elections. If you agree, please sign our petition today.”

You can see the full text of the petition, addressed to Chloe Smith, Minister for the Constitution and Devolution, and sign it here.

For further information about Make Votes Matter, visit the website or contact them by email.

Make Votes Matter meeting in Hastings on 20 May

The local group will hold an online meeting on Thursday 20 May from 7.30-8.30pm. there will be a review of last week’s local elections and their implication for PR, chair Surrinder Chera told HOT. Newly elected and re-elected councillors from all parties have been invited to participate.

It is also hoped to have a speaker from Labour for a New Democracy to give an update on progress towards PR in the Labour Party and getting a motion submitted to the national conference by the local party.

Click here to join the meeting. To contact Surrinder Chera send an email to or

MVM Hastings FB page and Twitter.

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Posted 17:57 Thursday, May 13, 2021 In: Campaigns

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