Political parties and MPs have forged a new cross-party consensus on replacing the UK’s First Past the Post voting system with a form of Proportional Representation.
First of its kind in British politics and brokered by campaign group Make Votes Matter, the "Good Systems Agreement" sets out the principles that a new voting system should deliver, and calls for a Citizens’ Assembly to recommend one for the UK.
The signatories want a proportional voting system in which “seats closely match votes” and all votes count equally, wherever in the UK they are cast. The agreement calls for a system which maintains the geographical link between MPs and constituencies and allows the public to vote “for people rather than just parties”.
The precise system should be “determined by citizens through an evidence-based, deliberative process”, such as the Citizens’ Assembly that broke the deadlock about reproductive rights in Ireland, the document says.
Signatory parties in the “Make Votes Matter Alliance” - including the Liberal Democrats, Alliance Party of Northern Ireland, Plaid Cymru, SNP, Brexit Party and Green Party, - received more than two-thirds of the votes cast in May’s European elections and are joined by a number of Labour and Independent MPs.
Wera Hobhouse, MP for Bath, said:"The current voting system of First Past the Post is not fit for purpose. I will do everything I can to change the voting system to Proportional Representation, so everyone will have a vote that counts equally and seats will match votes."
Klina Jordan, co-founder of Make Votes Matter, said: “There is now greater consensus than ever about the need for a proportional voting system, the features that system should have, and the route to getting it. The current system is failing on its own terms so badly that the next general election will likely produce another government without a clear majority. When that election comes around, this agreement will be at the forefront of any negotiations that follow.”
The UK is the only country in Europe - and one of only three major democratic developed countries - to use First Past the Post for general elections. Campaigners claim the system means Parliament does not reflect the votes cast, shutting millions out of politics, and forcing many more to vote tactically. First Past the Post no longer delivers its supposed main benefit of "strong and stable" majority government, they add.
The agreement was launched at an event in Parliament on 2nd July.
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