Labour to consider reform of voting system following pressure from local parties
- Credit: Tayfun Salci/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
The Labour Party is mulling over a decision to add electoral reform to its manifesto after party activists vote to end the first-past-the-post (FPTP) system.
More than one-quarter of Labour branches are urging Sir Keir Starmer to dump the party's historical support for FPTP voting in favour of proportional representation.
Calls for Labour to change its stance has grown over the last two decades as it lost the backing of centre-left voters to the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party.
With a constitutional commission into strengthening the union set to launch in Spring, campaigners are stepping up pressure to have electoral reform on the agenda.
A party insider told the i that the commission is likely to look at calls for altering the voting system and said it would be "weird" for the issue of electoral reform to be "off-limits" in such a wide-ranging constitutional review.
You may also want to watch:
Campaigners have been encouraged by Sir Keir remarking during its leadership contest: "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."
Of the 648 Constituency Labour Parties, 166 have passed motions calling for a proportional voting system, with 45 motions carried this year alone.
- 1 Government scraps Pick for Britain programme after Brits fill as few as 5% of roles
- 2 Poll: Laurence Fox in joint last place with Count Binface in race for London mayor
- 3 Boris Johnson still has questions to answer about Caribbean holiday
- 4 Ex-minister says Boris Johnson's government is a 'cesspit' where 'almost nobody' tells the truth
- 5 Russell Kane: Why working class people like Boris Johnson
- 6 James Dyson moves main address back to the UK
- 7 Government to dissolve parliament ahead of Queen’s Speech
- 8 Brexit regret: Meet the Leave voters who wish they hadn't voted Leave
- 9 Keir Starmer's day will come
- 10 British fisherman expresses regret over Brexit vote on Danish TV
It is understood that one-third of Labour MPs and several shadow ministers back calls for electoral reform, and a poll in 2019 found that 76% of party members supported the cause.
The Labour for a New Democracy campaign group points to the 80 seat majority which Boris Johnson secured in December 2019 with 43.6 per cent of the vote, and argue that the current system forces the political parties to focus on a minority of target seats rather than appealing to the electorate in general.
Alex Sobel, the MP for Leeds North West, said: "There’s a growing understanding that our political system is simply not responsive to the needs of the people, and not up to the challenges of the 21st century.
"We need a system where seats reflect votes, so parliament reflects the choices of the British people – and to create the possibility of collaborative, inclusive politics that serves the progressive majority."
Analysis of polling figures by pro-EU lobby group Best for Britain in January showed that Labour would only secure just 284 seats at the 2024 elections if it went it alone. That is 42 seats below the 326 needed to govern with a majority.
It showed without a pact, Labour would be forced to form a coalition to govern but with one, and seeing Nigel Farage's party bow out, it could win 146 more seats than than the Conservatives.
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.