It’s not an opportunity that comes up very often, so this is an important one: this Wednesday, MPs will have a chance to back proportional representation in Parliament.
May 7th was the most disproportionate General Election result in British history – so it’s about time there was a proper debate in Parliament on switching to a fairer voting system.
The ‘Representation of the People (Proportional Representation) Bill‘ will come before the House of Commons on Wednesday. Proposed by Stalybridge and Hyde MP Jonathan Reynolds, the ‘Ten Minute Rule Motion’ – a form of Private Members’ Bill – is a great opportunity to put PR on the agenda.
There’s just a couple of days to build some momentum behind it – so it’s vital we take action today. The Electoral Reform Society are asking supporters to write to their MPs to ask them to back the Bill and to build some public support behind it.
At the crux of the issue is this: multi-party politics is here to stay, but our old-fashioned two-party system can’t cope with the choices of modern voters. We clearly need a much fairer voting system.
We’re not alone in saying it either – in May, nearly half a million people signed petitions calling for a proportional voting system, joined by five party leaders from across the spectrum, while 61% of people back reform.
Sadly, as it’s a non-government Bill it’s not very likely to pass – but rallying behind it will really help keep the issue on the agenda.
The Bill isn’t perfect: it proposes using the Additional Member System for Westminster elections, rather than our preferred Single Transferable Vote, a proportional system that maximises voter choice. But it does represent a chance for positive change.
As the ERS say in our letter to MPs, “AMS is a tried and tested system, is simple and clear, and is used both in the UK and around the world. It has been shown to let the public kick out unpopular governments, and ensures that governments can’t be elected with tiny majorities. Politics has become far more multi-party since 2010, but our out-dated First Past the Post system cannot keep up with how people’s voting habits have changed.”
Crucially, this Bill is also a chance to find out what MPs think about PR – we can build up a strong database so that we know where they stand and so we can improve our Parliamentary work to keep putting democratic reform on the agenda. We want this Bill to go to the next stage – and while it may not pass, the more support the Bill has outside of Parliament the more support it could have within, too.