Campaigning for Labour to back proportional representation


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LCER supporters: constituency labour parties

Scores of CLPs have passed resolutions in favour of voting reform, and the number is increasing all the time.
Our friends at Make Votes Matter have a great colour-coded map
showing CLPs that have passed resolutions in favour of PR

> > MVM's map 

Note: MVM's map only shows CLPs that have submitted resolutions to the National Policy Forum. If your CLP have passed a resolution, do send it to the NPF - instructions are here


From our affiliated constituencies

We'd love to feature other CLPs' unique perspectives on the need for voting reform. Drop us a line if you'd like your CLP to be included on this page.

Harwich and North Essex - Tory heartlands

"About 20 years ago (when our constituency was known as North Essex) the CLP had a discussion on proportional representation. A few members supported PR, but the weight of opinion was in favour of FPTP. Tony Blair had just been elected as Prime Minister after nearly two decades of Tory rule, and our members were delighted that Labour had managed to gain a massive parliamentary majority on only 43% of the vote. And of course, that would not have been possible under PR. Now, the picture is very different. The Tory governments that came afterwards have ripped many of Labour's achievements to shreds. Under FPTP there are no safeguards at all for public services.

We discussed voting reform again in 2018. Many new, younger members said they could not bear the thought of a voting system where they were unlikely ever to be able to vote for a winning candidate, or making a difference to the outcome of an election, unless they moved to another area (our constituency has one of the largest Tory majorities in the country). And several older members, who had defended FPTP 20 years earlier, said they had changed their minds. The meeting voted unanimously in favour of voting reform. We are proud to have affiliated to LCER."

Westminster North - a London constituency with a Labour MP

"Westminster North has historically been a Labour/Tory marginal, though we may be on our way to becoming a safe Labour seat: in 2017, our MP Karen Buck was re-elected with almost 60% of the vote.

Our CLP is affiliated to LCER, having passed a motion in support of PR with overwhelming support. For many of our members, a deciding factor was local politics. Westminster City Council has always been controlled by the Conservatives, but Labour came within a whisker of gaining control in 1986. The Conservative administration responded with a huge gerrymandering exercise, moving people who were likely to vote Labour out of marginal wards, and into wards where their presence wouldn't affect the outcome of the election.

'Homes for Votes' became a national scandal. Those responsible were prosecuted, and subsequent Conservative administrations have apologised; but we are still feeling the effects. In the 2018 local elections, Labour gained nearly as many votes as the Tories (42.7% against their 44.8%), but we ended up with only 19 seats, compared to the Tories' 41 seats. This result is clearly unfair and unrepresentative, but it's also terrible for democracy more generally - effective scrutiny of the Conservative administration is all but impossible.

In one sense, 'Homes for Votes' was an isolated case of illegal activity by a corrupt Conservative administration. But it was underpinned and made possible by the First Past the Post voting system. Under a proportional voting system, all votes count equally, and the outcome of an election isn't determined by how the electoral boundaries are drawn or whether a group of people live in one electoral area or another. Under PR, there is nothing to be gained from gerrymandering. 'Homes for Votes' would not have happened, and the composition of our local council would be very different.

There are so many reasons to support a proportional voting system; our local experience is just one of those reasons."

CONTACT

Postal address: 
84 Cranbrook Road, Bristol BS6 7DB

Email:
lcer@labourcampaignforelectoralreform.org.uk


Phone:  0117 924 5139;  07712 511931

Website https://www.labourcampaignforelectoralreform.org.uk

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