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Keir Starmer backs proportional voting system

February 1, 2020 11:36 AM
By Bryan Lewis

Labour Party Leadership frontrunner Sir Keir Starmer has announced his support for a constitutional convention and the need for a fairer, proportional voting system.

He said "I think on electoral reform, we've got to address the fact that millions of people vote in safe seats and they feel their voice doesn't count. That's got to be addressed. We will never get full participation in our electoral system until we do that at every level."

There has been much talk of a 'democratic revolution' or 'democratic renewal from the leadership candidates so far, with former contender Clive Lewis putting the issues of electoral reform front and centre of his bid. But to hear Keir Starmer coming out explicitly in support of a constitutional convention and electoral reform is a welcome development.

The UK remains the only country in Europe to use First Past the Post. Any Labour leader serious about redistributing power must make tackling the democratic crisis a priority.

December's election saw the Conservatives gain a majority of seats with a minority of the vote and, according to the Electoral Reform Society, some 14.5 million voters (45%) are effectively unrepresented in Parliament.

Only serious structural reform can begin to repair this lack of faith in our democracy, a proportional voting system for the Commons and a fairly elected second chamber representing all nations and regions of the UK will give people a voice.

Hopefully, the other Labour leadership candidates will now follow Keir Starmer's lead and take the chance to commit to overhauling our crumbling constitution. This is a task that must be at the core of any progressive platform.