People across the West of England are being urged to tell the Government not to impose First Past the Post for future mayoral and police and crime commissioner elections, says national campaigning group Make Votes Matter.
Bath MP Wera Hobhouse, a long time campaigner for electoral reform, backs their efforts.
Make Votes Matter is launching a petition against the Home Secretary’s plans to introduce a First Past The Post voting system to elect the Mayor of London, all Metro Mayors, and Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC).
The proposals, which were announced during the last session of Parliament in March, would make it easier for unpopular and highly divisive candidates to get into city and town halls on low levels of voter support. And as the new session of parliament got underway today, Make Votes Matter say we need less First Past the Post in the UK, not more. This means a proportional voting system for British general elections.
Home Secretary Priti Patel claims that this move would bring ‘strong and clear local accountability, ‘so the public can vote out those who are failing to deliver’. However, the proposed First Past the Post system allows for candidates to be elected or reelected with a minority of the votes.
Wera Hobhouse, MP for Bath who previously raised the issue with Jacob Rees-Mogg in Parliament, said: “This back-door move by the Home Secretary to change the current mayoral and police and crime commissioner voting system to the past-its-sell-by-date First Past The Post system is an attack on our democracy. Powers over policing and crime in our local communities could be handed to people voted for by very small numbers of the electorate.”
Emma Knaggs, Grassroots Director at Make Votes Matter, said: “We are asking people in Bath, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire to sign our petition and send a clear message to the Government not to impose First Past the Post for future mayoral and police and crime commissioner elections. This would be a backward step for our democracy and leave millions more voters without a voice in politics, being governed by officials they simply didn't vote for. We need less First Past the Post in the UK, not more.
“A democracy fit for the 21st century should ensure all voters have a fair say and politicians work on behalf of all of us - not just the minority of voters they need to sneak into office. For a fairer Britain, we need to give voters a chance to make votes matter at the ballot box. Most urgently of all, this means a proportional voting system for British general elections. If you agree, please sign our petition today.”
The full petition text, addressed to Chloe Smith, Minister for the Constitution and Devolution, has gained thousands of signatures since launching, and is available here. For further information about Make Votes Matter, visit the website www.makevotesmatter.org.uk or email [email protected]
The Alternative Vote - on which the UK had a referendum in 2011 - is not a form of Proportional Representation and can be even more disproportional than First Past the Post.
READ WERA'S ANNUAL REPORT:
SIGN UP TO WERA'S MONTHLY BRIEFING: