Labour MPs set to lead All-Party Parliamentary Group on Proportional Representation

8th February, 2016 5:43 pm

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Chuka Umunna and Jonathan Reynolds today pledged their support for the cross-party campaign to introduce proportional representation.

The former shadow ministers have signed up for the Make Votes Matter project which also includes UKIP MP Douglas Carswell, Green MP Caroline Lucas and several Lib Dem MPs.

It comes after Reynolds tabled a backbench Bill on voting reform in the Commons in December 2015.

Make Votes Matter has described the last General Election as the “most disproportionate election ever” in Britain. It said votes per MP ranged just over 23,000 votes to almost four million.

Reynolds will chair an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) which seeks to scrap the first-past-the-post electoral system.

“We need a system which keeps the best bits of what we have now, such as the constituency link for MPs, but which also better represents how people vote. The present system, where one party can get under half the vote in a region but over 90% of the MPs, is unrepresentative and breeds disaffection,” Reynolds said.

Umunna said: “Our democracy is in crisis and our national institutions seen as increasingly remote.  We have to accept reality – two party politics in the conventional sense is over and the British people simply won’t continue to put up with an electoral system which is so unfair, disenfranchises millions and distorts political debate.  We cannot allow discontent with the system to grow – that is why we must act.”

Both Reynolds and Umunna have previously supported use of the Additional Member System which is currently used in Scotland. In a Commons speech last year Reynolds argued that FPTP “fails to treat voters equally” and “creates false electoral deserts, where whole regions of the country are dominated by one party despite its opponents recording substantial numbers of votes”.

The PR Alliance conference today includes representatives from Labour, the Greens, UKIP, the Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru, the SNP and Conservative Action for Electoral Reform – though Labour and the Conservative Party are not officially committed to PR.

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