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Demonstration outside Parliament for PR by Make Votes Matter.

Demonstration for PR by Make Votes Matter outside Parliament.

Local Labour’s PR vote welcomed by Greens

The local Labour Party has endorsed the principle of proportional representation for parliamentary elections, a move that has been welcomed by Hastings Greens. Nick Terdre reports.

Hastings & Rye Green Party has welcomed the news that the local Labour Party has voted to support the principle of proportional representation for parliamentary elections, it has announced.

Hastings Greens are not the usual outlet for news on local Labour, but were told of the move by Peter Chowney, Labour’s candidate in last year’s general election and candidate-designate for the next. “The motion on proportional representation I moved at West Branch (where it was approved) went to the GC [general committee] this month as a ‘mandating motion’, where it was also approved,” he said in an email ahead of Labour’s conference this week.

“So our delegate will be required to vote for any composited motion put to conference that supports proportional representation. It also means of course that the Hastings and Rye LP supports the principle of proportional representation for parliamentary elections.”

In the event there was no conference motion relating on PR.

In last year’s general election, Chowney undertook to support electoral reform in exchange for the local Greens refraining from fielding a candidate. In the event the majority of local MP Amber Rudd was slashed from 4,796 to 346 in a constituency where the Greens got over 1,500 votes in the 2015 general election.

“Broken electoral system”

”Democracy should enable ordinary people to challenge the power of the privileged few,” said Julia Hilton of Hastings & Rye Green Party. “But our broken electoral system, based on a First Past the Post voting system that ignores the votes of millions of people, fails to do this.

“Instead it entrenches the privilege of establishment politicians, who can use their resources to target the very small number of marginal seats that swing whole elections and keep Governments in power. We all deserve better than this. That’s why Hastings Green Party welcomes Hastings & Rye Labour Party’s backing for electoral reform that would make every vote matter.”

Chowney explained his views on PR in greater detail to HOT. “In terms of national elections, I’d favour something like the German system, where they have a directly elected first-past-the-post system to elect a MP to represent a constituency, then a second vote for a party list that’s used to allocate additional seats to adjust the overall number of MPs so it more or less represents the share of the vote polled by each party…

“But that wouldn’t really work in local elections, it’s too complicated and the electorate is too small to make it work.”

He said he had recently read research indicating that “the first past the post system in local government has tended to benefit the smaller parties anyway, so they end up with proportionately more councillors than their share of the vote.”

In Hastings however the smaller parties are totally unrepresented on the council. Had PR been in force at this year’s local elections, and seats distributed according to number of votes cast for each party, the outcome would have been significantly different: Labour would have 16 seats instead of 24, the Conservatives 10 and the Greens and Liberal Democrats three each.

Persuading Labour nationally to back PR is one of the key aims of Make Votes Matter, which campaigns for PR and is supported by virtually all of the smaller parties.

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Posted 16:17 Friday, Sep 28, 2018 In: Politics


Please read our comment guidelines before posting on HOT

  1. Nick Perry

    A commitment to PR is a central plank of the Lib Dem constitution.

    Comment by Nick Perry — Wednesday, Feb 20, 2019 @ 18:03

  2. Zelly Restorick

    Our current system is out of date/not fit for purpose – and is perpetuated/maintained by those who gain from its use.

    Q: How will change happen unless those benefitting from the system also want a change?

    As I started reading this article, I felt hopeful – then read that the issue was not part of the Labour conference – and felt disappointed. Was it part of the Green’s/Lib-Dem’s/Conservative’s conferences?

    There need to be some quantum/paradigm shifts in many of our long established systems – and although I felt disappointment, I know that changes, shifts and transitions are entirely possible – and I admire the Greens and local Labour for promoting a system that would be fairer and more representative of the population’s wishes, locally and nationally.

    As a UK citizen, I don’t feel that the current governments, locally and nationally, represent me – and yet I am stuck with them, destroying things I value and not caring for things I care about. Nor do I like the authoritarian/dominations/bullying aspects, where citizens really don’t have a voice and where a few are making decisions on behalf of the many.

    We may have fought for the vote and things are definitely fairer that they were, but we have a long way to go.

    Actively hoping/believing,
    Zelly Restorick

    Comment by Zelly Restorick — Friday, Oct 12, 2018 @ 06:51

  3. ELSA79

    Proportional representation is the modern world’s normal way of doing democracy. 85% OF OECD COUNTRIES ALREADY USE IT IN SOME FORM….

    Comment by ELSA79 — Sunday, Sep 30, 2018 @ 23:09

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