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Labour should back PR

May 23, 2021 6:18 PM
By Bryan Lewis

The unfairness of First Past The Post elections could leave left-of-centre parties out of government for good.

In the run up to the 6th May local elections, research for the Politics for the Many campaign showed that our "winner-takes-all" voting system meant voters on the left were "in effect being punished for having a choice of parties to vote for". The research showed that in nearly half of wards there was one party on the right (Conservative) standing against three candidates from parties on the "left": Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens. In 85% of wards, there were more "left" parties standing candidates than "right" parties.

In the 2019 general election the Tories required 38,000 votes to elect each of their MPs, compared with 51,000 for every Labour seat, 300,000 for each Liberal Democrat and 900,000 for the single Green MP.

The Labour Party lost its grip on Scotland many years ago and now the English North and Midlands are slipping away too. With the Tories certain to oppose any change to a system that benefits them, Labour can either languish in opposition or back electoral reform.

Change will have to come using the present system so it's time for Labour to join a so-called "progressive alliance" with the Liberal Democrats and Greens.