mary's blog

Mary Southcott is LCER's Parliamentary and Political Officer

Mary joined LCER in 1988 and started working as its Parliamentary and Political Officer in 1990.  The Plant Commission had recently been set up by Labour leader Neil Kinnock to report on democratic reforms; one of Mary's first achievements was a successful campaign to extend the Commission's remit to include elections to the House of Commons. Following the publication of the Plant Report, Labour leader John Smith offered a referendum on voting reform; in the years after his death, Mary campaigned to retain the referendum in Labour's 1997 election manifesto.

Mary has briefed numerous politicians and activists, notably the late Robin Cook and Mo Mowlam; she continues to promote voting reform among politicians, academics and Labour party members.

Mary stood for Parliament in 1987 and sat on the National Policy Forum for eleven years. She has authored numerous articles and books on voting reform, including Making Votes Count with Martin Linton.  

  • 18 Oct 2020 13:47 | Mary Southcott

    Jacinda Ardern, Labour, has won the postponed New Zealand general electoral, on 17 October, with an overall majority.  She is serving a second term without a coalition with the voting system many Labour electoral reformers are suggesting for the UK.  Their system, Mixed Member Proportional, is the one we call a top up or additional member system, given to Germany by the allies along with a devolved federal system after World War II.  A similar system brought in by the Labour government after 1997, will be used in Scotland, Wales and Greater London in the elections on 6 May next year. 

    Scotland now elects their local government by Single Transferable Vote as does Northern Ireland.  The elected mayoral and the police and crime commissions use the supplementary vote which forces candidate to reach out to voters of other parties.  So next year it will only be English local government that will use the system, first past the post, that Labour electoral reformers think should be ditched for elected MPs, either at the 2021 Annual Conference or failing that the following year.  The constituency parties we feel sure will support change.  

    So what about the trade unions.  Do they not see the connection between the voting system we use and the outcome in policy on bread ‘n’ butters issues?  

    The whole culture of politics is warped by the voting system.  It polarises, disenfranchises, divides where we need to work together.  It is unnecessarily adversarial, binary, distorting politics and almost totally responsible for the north – south divide, until the Red Walls started to crumble.  

    This New Zealand result should boost the chances of winning conference over next year.  We already know that the nearly two thirds of the submissions to the Justice and Home Affairs Commission proposed changing the voting system.  

    We need to use these arguments not just the arithmetic of voting systems.  We need to decide now if we go back to thinking with one big heave, prefer to govern solo, even were we to win, alienating vital voters in Tory/Labour seats.  We need to change politics.  The climate, social care and the economy cannot wait beyond 2024.  

    The comedian, Mitch Benn, has written a very interesting article suggesting new approach.  

    Enfranchisement, making all votes count – why didn’t we think of this before?  

    Do read the whole article and let me know what you think.  Here it is: https://www.theneweuropean.co.uk/brexit-news/europe-news/mitch-been-on-the-slogan-to-secure-voting-reform-93250.  

    On 3 November we will get to see how the same system as some of us cling on to will translate into the electoral college in the swing states and how much the popular vote counts.  In the Westminster system the electoral college is based on a constituency where the MP casts one vote for everyone in their patch no matter how many votes went to the opposition parties.  There is no bonus for “vote mountains” in our remaining safe seats.  

    It is just not much of a democracy if only some people count.  The ballot is the only place where we are all judged equal, one person, one vote.  But before a single ballot hits the box, we know the result in over 500 seats.  It is like watching a football match when you have ignored the “look away” notice.

    Democracies change and evolve.  They make a difference.  We will let people into the secret at schools and give every 16 year old a vote.  We need to make decisions locally or regionally at the nearest point to the people affected.  Subsidiarity is  a ugly word but now we are going to be sovereign let’s ensure we have a British version – no excuses.  All the evidence is that consensus seeking based on devolved authorities is more likely to come up with the answers.  Between now and 2024, we should aim to change the overcentralised British state and its nineteenth century voting system.  Surely it’s worth a discussion in your constituency, branch or trade union.  The only cure for our broken politics is more democracy.  Labour can be on the side of the future.  

  • 20 Sep 2020 08:35 | Mary Southcott

    Thirty Years On – the Plant Report  

    Once upon a time, thirty years ago to be precise, also at Annual Conference, the Labour Campaign for Electoral Reform won a victory which should be remembered and celebrated. We were 11 years into our wilderness.  We had just lost three general elections, unlike the present four.  Margaret Thatcher was still prime minister.  We were writing our next manifesto, like now, choosing devolution of our highly centralised state and Lords Reform to demonstrate the lack of democracy.  We had to find voting systems for putative devolved assemblies, Senate and to ditch first past the post for elections to the European Parliament.  

    Labour decided to set up a committee to decide what systems Labour would back but excluded in its remit the way we elect MPs.  Much has changed but the need to adopt a new voting system to elect MPs is still with us and the reasons stronger than ever but that was not on the agenda.  Roy Hattersley was our Deputy Leader, an opponent of electoral reform, had sought the assistance of the academic, Professor Raymond Plant.  Apparently he asked him whether he knew anything about voting systems.  The tried and test British way to such appointments is to say “No”.  Thus it was when Cyril Radcliffe was asked if he knew anything about India before being drafted in to design the partition line between India and Pakistan.  

    LCER went into the 1990 conference with considerable experience of sending out model resolutions, getting them adopted by constituencies, even unions, meeting with delegates before compositing meetings, and working out model composites.  That year, the minimum ask was to include elections to the House of Commons in with the Lords and Assemblies in the remit of the working party. Local government was left out deliberately as there were more Labour councillors than Labour MPs.  This might have been a mistake in retrospect. 

    We briefed the journalists that this was the beginning of the breakdown of Labour’s joint support with the Conservatives of the current voting system.  Everything went to plan except the vital words in the model composite had been left out.  However, because we went on emphasising the intent rather than the actuality of the composite when we won massively no one noticed.  The Commons was in! 

    The debate itself was a master class in arguments for electoral reform.  Only one delegate against was chosen by the Chair, Tom Sawyer, then of NUPE, now House of Lords.  First past the post was up as it were in a court with witnesses against: Trade union leaders, from right and left, constituencies from around the country and Labour students.  

    Then there was the choice of people to join what became known, because LCER briefed it as this rather than a working party, the Plant Commission.   We had our Chair, Jeff Rooker MP; the MSF union rep on the NEC, Judith Church.  (The union was in favour of PR but then disappeared into Amicus which then merged with the Transport and General Workers Union to be UNITE).  We also had another Union NEC rep, of TSSA, which is still in favour of PR.  Richard Rosser is now active in the Shadow Labour administration, speaking in the Lords on Home Affairs and Transport.  We also had John Evans MP, put on committees to reliably represent the views of Leader Neil Kinnock and there was former National Agent of the Party, Reg Underhill, who ask it turned out had made a speech for his trades council at a wartime Labour Conference.  

    They were balanced by Margaret Beckett who in Lincoln remembered fighting Dick Taverne who had left the Labour party after deselection for being pro Europe but stood and won in the subsequent byelection.   Margaret Jackson, one and the same, was to fight him and lose in February 1974 and then beat him the following October.   She was reinforced by the former leader of Norwich Council, the late Baroness Patricia Hollis of Heigham. Unlike Margaret Beckett she attended meetings and was a formidable opponent whereas the only time the Commission saw Margaret Beckett was when she came to the last meeting to vote down a minimalist form of PR.  

    A quick gallop through the next 30 years brought us a referendum promise in 1997 which had to be defended by LCER, and by that stage Tony Blair for whom this was a matter of trust not systems, at all the subsequent conferences since John Smith had said “let the people decide” when Plant reported.  The promise was broken, long grass followed the Labour Majority in 1997, but not until another Commission had been set up, this time not internal Labour and led by Roy Jenkins which gave us wonderful phrases like “vote mountains” and “electoral deserts”. 

    The wilderness years for voting reform followed, when LCER was subsumed into Make Votes Count, and when Robin Cook’s warning that the job of government was to prepare for opposition was ignored until 2010 when a coalition was formed between the LibDems and the Conservatives resulting in a referendum against Nick Clegg, which was the 2011 AV Referendum.  

    We had to wait another second defeat in 2015 to see the rise of voting reform, LCER’s tweeter account, Labour4PR and working with Make Votes Matter.   After two more defeats and a totally unrepresentative Tory government, even of previous Tory governments, with a massive 80 seat majority, the UK is less democratic than in the 1990s.  But the family of electoral reformers inside and outside the Labour Party is stronger than ever working together as Labour for a New Democracy.  Join us. It is only a matter of time but the sooner the better.  

    marysouthcott@hotmail.com

    077 125 11931 

    0117 924 5139 

      

  • 21 Aug 2020 23:26 | Mary Southcott

    Labour NEC Elections - Division 3 - Constituency Section 

    Constituency Labour Parties are already calling their nomination meetings.  This year there is every good reason to maximise the number of electoral reformers on the NEC.  But first they need to receive nominations from constituencies.  This is the timetable: you need your CLP to nominate candidates before the deadline for nominations, 27 September, and the all-member ballot will open on 19 October and close on 12 November 2020. Make nominations which need seconding or watch out for and attend your nominating meeting.  

    You can afford to choose members of an opposing slate that you have reason to believe may make better members of the NEC than the rest of their slate.  Voting using Single Transferable Vote is different. This is already acknowledged by one slate which is recommending you to vote for all members of their own slate of six, followed by Ann Black, who mentions her LCER membership in her statement,   Luke Akehurst is also an LCER member but doesn’t mention it, and one more candidate, Matthew Blakemore, who lists his top ambition “to advance Labour policy for electoral reform”.   Another member of LCER is standing to be the Youth Representative.  He is Tommy Kirkwood.   

    Other candidates may be reformers if they reflect the opinion of Labour members. Do ask candidates their view on electoral reform and let us know.  You can find the statements here: https://labour.org.uk/activist-hub/governance-and-legal-hub/ballots-and-nominations/candidate-statements-2020/

    Labour Consultation 

    Just before the postponed end of the Labour consultation on 20 July, the Guardian gave us their view: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jul/19/the-guardian-view-on-labour-and-pr-fix-a-flawed-system.  We now have to wait for the Justice and Home Affairs Commission members to read the many submissions it received saying we needed to change the voting system: some say 60 per cent favoured change. LCER needs to thank all the people who put in a submission however long, however short.  It was a magnificent effort.  The Commission is led by three shadow Secretaries of State: David Lammy, an LCER Sponsor, at Justice, Nick Edward-Symonds at Home Affairs and the most relevant, at the Shadow Cabinet Office, Rachel Reeves.  If you go on the Commission site, people are still posting their support.  The document which results will be voted on at the 2021 General Election but we hope to see their conclusions before that.  

    Trade Unionists need to have this conversation 

    Billy Hayes, our Trade Union Officer reports three unions are about to elect new General Secretaries, GMB (the name derived from the amalgamation of the General, Municipal, Boilermakers' and Allied Trade Unions), UNISON and UNITE the Union.  Whoever wins out, these unions and others, and their members will need to decide how they vote when Labour Conference is asked for their opinion on electoral reform in 2021 and, we are not going away, 2022.  

    We know that some resolutions (see Trade Union section on the LCER webside) were ready for the 2020 Conferences which were cancelled.  Unite the Union was formed on 1 May 2007 by the merger of Amicus, itself formed by amalgamation of other unions with the AEEU, and the Transport and General Workers’ Union. There were two joint General Secretaries, Derek Simpson was in favour of electoral reform and Tony Woodley who has just been ennobled and will take his place in the House of Lords.  Lord Richard Rosser who was the pro reform TSSA union General Secretary is the shadow spokesperson in the Lords on transport and home affairs. He was a member of the Plant Commission with Lord Jeff Rooker, LCER Chair from 1989 to 2004. 

    In the early 1990s Bill Morris then Deputy General Secretary led the TGWU debate to change the union’s position on electoral reform under the guidance of Ron Todd. Len McCluskey, the outgoing General Secretary of Unite scuppered that attempt which was lost by 19 votes, 10 members.  He has since mellowed his stance and recommended pro reform Howard Beckett, one of his deputies who is in favour, to appear on the LCER fringe meeting organised at the TUC Congress in 2017.    If you are an electoral reformer and active in the union, or any other affiliated union, we need you to get in contact.  

    Anniversary of the Plant Commission 

    The biggest move towards electoral reform was at the 1990 Annual Conference.  LCER played a major role in ensuring the new Committee being set up included elections to the House of Commons.  What became, in 1990, the Plant Commission, after Professor Raymond Plant, now Lord Plant of Highgrove, supported electoral reform.  John Smith was the Leader of the Party said on receiving the Report “let the people decide”.  LCER defended the referendum which appeared in the 1997 General Election Manifesto.  LCER no longer supports a referendum to decide.  We would like in the next Labour Manifesto to support electoral reform either by choosing a system or allowing one to be chosen by a citizens’ assembly with legislation early in the first term of a Labour led government.  If you would like to put this all into context send an email to marysouthcott@hotmail.com to receive a guide to the background when Labour collided with the voting system.  And how shall we celebrate the beginning of Labour’s Road to Electoral Reform?  Ideas to www.labourcampaignforelectoralreform.org.uk.

    House of Lords Reform  

    Nothing shows the need for reforming the House of Lords more that the recent appointment of Peers by Boris Johnson.  We now have over 200 more Peers than MPs.  If you don’t believe this just read Lords President, Lord Fowler here: https://www.parliament.uk/business/news/2020/july/lord-speaker-comments-on-new-appo/.   Willie Sullivan has put a petition on the issue:  https://www.change.org/p/boris-johnson-no-more-unelected-peers-scrap-and-replace-the-house-of-lords-now. Or read this blog: https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/the-unelected-house-of-lords-is-undermining-britains-reputation/.

    One new member of the House of Lords who IS worth having is former MP for Workington, Susan Hayman, who was open to electoral reform and a great advocate for the environment. She once worked for Tess Kingham who was an LCER Sponsor.  

    Electoral Reformers’ ABC  

    My favourites follow but what are yours ?   

    A for Alternative Vote or Additional Member System 

    B for Brexit, take Back control, Broadly reflects the votes  

    C is for Cooperation, Collaboration, Consensus seeking, Citizenship and Citizenship Education  

    D is for Diversity – Democracy  

    E for Equality, Education   

    And so on: 

    J for Jenkins

    L for Legitimacy, Local  

    P Pluralism, Plant, Proportional Representation   

    R Regions 

    Please add yours and let us know.   

    Voter Suppression  

    Cat Smith MP, Shadow Minister for Voter Engagement and Youth Affairs, and electoral reformers, writes about the disenfranchisement of millions, here: https://labourlist.org/2020/07/the-government-must-stop-misleading-us-voter-id-could-disenfranchise-millions/. This will be an important consideration in discussions about boundaries which change first past the post constituencies - so much for the MP-Constituency Link.  It is also important given the recent discussion of Windrush and #blacklivesmatter:https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/jul/28/mps-may-have-been-misled-over-bame-voter-id-claims.  Lord (Simon) Woolley, Operation Black Vote, also writes: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/aug/01/britains-equality-watchdog-needs-to-start-taking-racism-seriously.

    Small is Beautiful  

    Linda Colley gave the BBC Radio 4’s A Point of View, which you can hear here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000l8g3, a lesson on The Big Benefits of Smallness.  The Pitcairn Island was the first place where all adult women got the vote on the same basis as men.  The Isle of Man, Hawaii and of course New Zealand were all ahead of the UK in terms of democracy and enfranchisement.   She speaks about federalism, regions and local government autonomy.  She advocated changing the voting system to reflect the many shades of opinion. First past the post is supposed to be a model of stability but UK politics at the moment is not.  She says that the two main parties prevent the change we in LCER want to see.  Let us prove her wrong.   

    For Example, New Zealand

    For many reasons electoral reformers like to cite the PR Mixed Member Proportional elections in New Zealand which have produced not one but two Labour women Prime Ministers.  The New Zealand general elections have been postponed but will take place on Saturday 17 October.  Polling is showing that Jacinda Ardern could win an outright victory under a proportional voting system, putting the lie to the proponents of first past the post, that this is the only way of winning majority victories.  But waiting for our first General Election after four election defeats is not good enough.  Labour needs to bite the ballot and change its policy on electoral reform.  

    Elections Elections Election May 2021 

    55 per cent of LabourList readers believe the Tories will win the next General Election.  So 7 May 2021 elections will be really important in changing what could be a self fulfilling prophecy.  Elections, which were to take place this year in May 2020, are now going to happen in May 2021 together with some originally scheduled for that date.  Everyone in Britain will have a vote so it is almost like a General Election.   

    Now is the time to find out the positions of Labour candidates we hope will be elected on 7 May 2021, for the Welsh Senedd or Cymru Senedd; the Scottish Parliament; the Greater London Assembly and the Greater London Mayor, Police and Crime Commissioners, other Elected Mayors for West Midlands, Combined Authorities and Councillors all over England.  Do you know or can you ask any of their positions on Electoral Reform?  And let us know?  It is really important that Labour makes a comeback from December 2019 in these elections.  Demonstrating support for voting reform throughout the Labour Party will help the Party to change its policy.  

    marysouthcott@hotmail.com 

    0117 924 5139 077 125 11931   

    LCER Parliamentary and Political Officer  

  • 1 Jul 2020 10:28 | Mary Southcott

    I write in a personal capacity having attended every Labour Annual Conference since 1983.  I stood as a Labour Parliamentary Candidate in what had always been a Conservative seat when I supported first past the post in 1987, witnessing Labour members voting tactically against the Tories and being thanked by the Tory MP for saving his seat.  I put up the vote in the inner city where the Liberal Alliance had a single message, “Labour can’t win here”.  I wrote about it in the New Statesman.

    My experience changed my mind.  What I cannot understand over thirty years later is why Labour hasn’t changed its policy. it made me angry in 1992 when eleven seats determined the result.  We lost four elections.  And it makes me angrier when in 2019 we have multiparty politics; where the Brexit (UKIP) Party can stand against Labour but not against the Tories to unite the Right; and Centre and Left voters were divided by the voting system. Try a Venn Diagram. 

    I am somewhat consoled by Machiavelli’s warning that when you argue for change, watch out, because the people who benefit from the status quo will fight all the way, whereas the people who would benefit from the change will not even make the connection.  Voting reformers have moved from being ignored, to being called mad, then bad, then it seems everyone agreed with us.  So Labour, and the trade unions, have a choice and it needs to decide at its 2021 annual conference to ditch first past the post. 

    The vote is a symbol of our democracy.  It was won by people who laid down their lives, by Chartists, by Suffragettes, in Selma, Alabama and Apartheid White South Africa.  The current system has rendered our vote worthless in many constituencies outside marginals.  First past the post should have been left behind in the 20th century before we entered the 21st.  This was the expectation of Labour as we moved from one to the other. 

    First past the post predates the Labour Party.   It has been the way we vote from Keir Hardie to Keir Starmer.  Labour has now lost our fourth general election as we did in 1992.   People, during our time in Opposition, are born, attend primary school, leave school, seek jobs or degrees, get ill, commit crimes, affect the environment.  If we believe that Labour governments make a difference, why don’t we want them to happen more often.  It is surely time we took a reality check. 

    This is not about mathematics but making votes count and people matter.  It is Labour’s historic role to bring about a consensus decision to change the way we count our votes.  Tom Stoppard’s character once said: “it’s not the voting that’s democracy it’s the counting”.   Labour’s retreat from rural areas and inability to see our role in coastal constituencies needs now to be reversed.   The next Boundary Changes. with a flawed logic of equal numbers of registered voters, with “missing millions”, will dilute potential Labour seats with people we have not canvassed and do not know.  We need to reverse Labour’s retreat which is responsible for our Red Walls falling. 

    The Economist wrote in June 2020 we have the wrong government for Coronavirus.  We have the wrong government for most of the things our society needs, pandemic or no: smaller class sizes, decent support for disabled people, homeless people, older people, unemployed people, those on minimal wages, key workers, those whose lives have been touched by coronavirus. The current government has an unassailable majority by accident and that accident is the voting system which transforms a minority into a majority.   

    We have dumbed down elections so we do not discuss the real issues for many people’s lives because we need to win over the switch voter in marginal constituencies who is not affected.   We have shifted activists from their seats which either we thought were unwinnable or couldn’t be lost and they have in consequence lost their connections with their local community or opportunities to be effective at local council level. 

    If support for the current voting system was working for the country, the voters, our party or democracy, we might have an excuse for waiting for the next opportunity to exercise unfettered power.  But Labour does not win the right to exercise power for others until it has their consent and that means not only winning their votes but their minds and hearts. 

    Our values are not about winners taking all but about equality, legitimacy and democracy.  We need to ditch a system which means we win votes and not arguments to one where we do both. 

    Our targeting strategy has often been misplaced.  We send people from where they live and work to places where they do not know the nuances of local language.  We talk about persuasive conversations but we only leave behind people as soon as we know whether they are “ours” or not.  No one owns people certainly no longer parties.  We allow vote mountains to build up where we do not need them and electoral deserts where people live 100 miles from their nearest Labour MP. 

    We often hate the Liberal Democrats, Green Party or Plaid, even the Scottish Nationalist, where we are competing for the same voters.  We have more in common than our differences and yet we say things like “at least we know where the Tories stand”.   So we would rather give power to the largest majority then work with other parties where they agree with us, and argue with them where we do not.  Many people have lost patience with politicians who score points and take decisions which they have not consulted on.  We should never forget that Margaret Thatcher’s Tories never won the support of more than a third of the electorate

    Voters often want to know how politicians will work together to solve problems and to get things done. This is how the select committees work except they are often ignored. Voters are prepared often to resort to tactical voting under our current system.  This is not an exact science.  And it introduces dishonesty into the heart of our politics.  People try to beat the system by voting for a party they do not support to defeat the party they do not want.  So effectively when general elections are over, we are not sure what that was. 

    Politics needs to change.  The culture is oppositional, adversarial and anti consensus.   It more often is about blaming the other side rather than problem solving.  We need when we agree to work together to find solutions, on issues as wide apart as the climate emergency, social care and we could have found a way through the Brexit negotiations.  Never again should we let the people decide without a codified constitution with rules. 

    People say that our politics is broken because we haven't developed the idea that people should be involved in decisions that affect their lives.  This means politicians listening not just to the people who voted for them but others who did not, especially minorities who have no political voice once elections are over.  We need a politics where people count all the time and not just once every five years. 

    We need to educate young people through citizenship education and give the vote to 16 and 17 year olds.  Young people often think long term, having a vested interest in their futures  and have suggestions about doing things differently.  Minority issues are important but take too long to get an airing where much of the political spectrum is silenced by the need of parties to seem united.  Minorities can be about deciding our future.  Majorities too often relate to past assumptions.   

    The winning party in Westminster is never more than the largest majority in a system which only works, if at all, with two parties.  First past the post polarises our country, it exaggerates difference, it allows elective dictatorship and the winners take all.  

    It does not reflect Labour values of equality, legitimacy or democracy.  It disempowers where we should be encouraging people and communities to work together.  We need to decentralise and devolve power and decision making.   We need to hear and win the arguments before making decisions based on exaggerated majorities.  We need to exercise accountability where some politicians are running away from it.

    We have been discussing voting reform in the Labour Party for at least the last half century.  Surely the time now is to act. When Labour forms or leads the next government, the decisions about our democracy should be handed to a UK Constitutional Convention charged with writing a written constitution, sorting out devolution and subsidiarity, and Labour should argue immediately for change to a voting system to elect MPs which broadly reflects, as the current one fails, the votes cast, retains the MP-constituency link and empowers the electorate wherever they live.  

    After coronavirus, we need to cement a paradigm shift to recognise how politics is going to work differently.  We need honest and open politics with a voting system not based on guesswork encouraging one party states.  We need to trust the voters so they in their turn trust us. 

    If you sent a submission to the Justice and Home Affairs Commission, thank you.   Please let us see a copy.  It might be possible to put them on our website or use them in our leaflets.   

    You will have heard that the Labour NEC will use Single Transferable Vote to elect its Constituency Division.  This means that no one faction can monopolise decisions.  Those who oppose it at the moment will see it benefits them in the future.  It is the only way to get Labour to work together and teach us that we have more in common than that which divides us.  



  • 7 Apr 2020 20:26 | Anonymous

    Mary Southcott, LCER's Parliamentary and Political Officer, writes: 

    Good News from new Shadow Cabinet Lineup

    First congratulations to both Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner for becoming the Labour Leader and Deputy Leader.  As you know LCER received this response from our new Labour Leader to our questions to all the candidates.  He said: 

    "We’ve got to address the fact that millions of people vote in safe seats and they feel their voice doesn’t count. That’s got to be addressed by electoral reform. We will never get full participation in our electoral system until we do that at every level. I would consult the Party membership on electoral reform and include it within the constitutional convention that looks at wider democratic renewal--including abolishing the Lords and furthering devolution on the principles of federalism."

    Congratulations to other electoral reformers who have joined the Shadow Cabinet: 

    Marsha de Cordova is new Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary  

    David Lammy is new Shadow Justice Secretary.   

    Steve Reed is new Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary 

    Jonathan Reynolds, the new Shadow Work and Pension Secretary has been an PR advocate since his student days and Chair of Make Votes Count.  He is also one of three PLP representative on the NEC.  

    and 

    Louise Haigh who has taken up an interim role as Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary

    Congratulations for those electoral reformers who keep their roles, particularly 

    Luke Pollard remains Shadow Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary  

    Cat Smith stays on as Shadow Minister for Young People and Voter Engagement 

    Ian Murray who returns as Shadow Scotland Secretary after quitting in 2016  

    and recent declared voting reformer 

    Rebecca Long-Bailey as Education Shadow Secretary. 

    We hope to work with particularly and persuade the following: 

    Ed Miliband as Shadow Business, Energy and Industrial Secretary.  He was pro Alternative Vote in the 2011 AV Referendum and some say now pro PR.  He was last in the Shadow Cabinet in 2015   

    Jim McMahon who is Shadow Transport Secretary and has always emphasised devolution particularly supporting local government  

    Lisa Nandy as Shadow Foreign Secretary who remains worried about the link between PR and extremism 

    Bridget Phillipson is Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury 

    Nick Thomas-Symonds as Shadow Home Secretary

    This compares with the former Shadow Cabinet where we lost Jeremy Corbyn who was open but not proactive on voting reform; John McDonnell who was an active supporter who has joined us at various events since 2016 and Baroness Shami Chakrabarti who was thought to be in favour. 

    The best people to persuade anyone are people they know so at this dangerous time for British politics the silver lining may be that we work together to move the Labour policy from the current first past the post to an open position leading to having something positive to say in the next General Election.  

  • 7 Apr 2020 20:15 | Mary Southcott

    Good News from new Shadow Cabinet Lineup

    First congratulations to both Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner for becoming the Labour Leader and Deputy Leader.  As you know LCER received this response from our new Labour Leader to our questions to all the candidates.  He said: 

    "We’ve got to address the fact that millions of people vote in safe seats and they feel their voice doesn’t count. That’s got to be addressed by electoral reform. We will never get full participation in our electoral system until we do that at every level. I would consult the Party membership on electoral reform and include it within the constitutional convention that looks at wider democratic renewal--including abolishing the Lords and furthering devolution on the principles of federalism."

    Congratulations to other electoral reformers who have joined the Shadow Cabinet: 

    Marsha de Cordova is new Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary  

    David Lammy is new Shadow Justice Secretary.   

    Steve Reed is new Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary 

    Jonathan Reynolds, the new Shadow Work and Pension Secretary has been an PR advocate since his student days and Chair of Make Votes Count.  He is also one of three PLP representative on the NEC.  

    and 

    Louise Haigh who has taken up an interim role as Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary

    Congratulations for those electoral reformers who keep their roles, particularly 

    Luke Pollard remains Shadow Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary  

    Cat Smith stays on as Shadow Minister for Young People and Voter Engagement 

    Ian Murray who returns as Shadow Scotland Secretary after quitting in 2016  

    and recent declared voting reformer 

    Rebecca Long-Bailey as Education Shadow Secretary. 

    We hope to work with particularly and persuade the following: 

    Ed Miliband as Shadow Business, Energy and Industrial Secretary.  He was pro Alternative Vote in the 2011 AV Referendum and some say now pro PR.  He was last in the Shadow Cabinet in 2015   

    Jim McMahon who is Shadow Transport Secretary and has always emphasised devolution particularly supporting local government  

    Lisa Nandy as Shadow Foreign Secretary who remains worried about the link between PR and extremism 

    Bridget Phillipson is Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury 

    Nick Thomas-Symonds as Shadow Home Secretary

    This compares with the former Shadow Cabinet where we lost Jeremy Corbyn who was open but not proactive on voting reform; John McDonnell who was an active supporter who has joined us at various events since 2016 and Baroness Shami Chakrabarti who was thought to be in favour. 

    The best people to persuade anyone are people they know so at this dangerous time for British politics the silver lining may be that we work together to move the Labour policy from the current first past the post to an open position leading to having something positive to say in the next General Election.  


CONTACT

LCER, 334 Mutton Lane, Potters Bar EN6 2AX

Email lcer@labourcampaignforelectoralreform.org.uk


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