Proportional voting system debate

Dear Editor,

I am so pleased that, after several petitions garnering over 100,000 votes each, the House of Commons will finally debate implementing a proportional voting system on 30 October.

I have written to my MP, Caroline Nokes, asking her to attend the debate and support the motion. Since she has a tendency to ignore specifics in my letters I have included most of the content below in the vain hope that she will actually answer my points.

We need a voting system where the number of MPs of each political party in the House of Commons is proportional to the number of votes cast for each party. Whereas Ms Nokes received a majority of votes in my constituency, this is rarely the case in a multi-party system. For example, the Conservatives received 42% of the vote in last June's General Election, but they received 48.9% of the seats, whereas the Lib Dems, UKIP and Greens received vote shares of 7.4%, 1.8% and 1.6%, a total of 10.8%, yet they received only 13 seats between them, which is only 2% of the seats, instead of the 70 seats they deserve.

This shows how unfair the First Past the Post voting system is, and how many voters within the UK are disenfranchised by the current undemocratic voting process. Furthermore, although the Unionist Coalition of the Conservatives and DUP gives them a controlling vote of 328 MPs, these MPs actually represent only 43.3% of voters, meaning this coalition gets a majority of votes in the House with a minority of votes from the electorate, essentially allowing the unelected to rule the country.

The solution to this temporary dictatorship, where a minority rule over a majority that did not vote for them (usually benefiting a minority of rich individuals at the expense of the poorest in society) is Proportional Representation, where those who sit in the House of Commons truly represent the wishes of the electorate, and serve UK citizens, working for the benefit of the many and not the "privileged few" (as Theresa May promised when becoming Prime Minister, but so far has failed to deliver). May I suggest that the only way to deliver her promise is to implement a proportional voting system that ensures MPs within the House of Commons are from parties that truly represent the people of the UK, rather just a select few from a rich minority that only represent a rich minority at the expense of a growing poor majority?

The normal replies to such a request are, "but you had your chance in the 2011 AV referendum," and "proportional voting systems break the vital link with local constituents". First, the Alternative Vote system is not proportional. It does not deliver proportional governments and can be easily manipulated by gerrymandering. More proportional voting systems are available, such as the Single Transferable Vote and the Additional Member System, which are far more proportional and undoubtedly would have been supported if they were offered to the electorate. Secondly, the attachment to local constituencies is irrelevant in modern politics. Although Ms Nokes represents me in Romsey and Southampton North, she actually only represents 57% of the voters, which is only 42.7% of the electorate and only 32.5% of the residents. And despite this she was willing to vote for repealing the fox hunting band, against the wishes of 80% of the public. Furthermore, it is typical for MPs to vote with their parties more than with the wishes of the local people they represent. The electorate know this and vote accordingly: tactical voting forces people to vote for a party they don't want just to stop a party they hate from winning. Therefore the link with local constituents is already broken, at the detriment of the many for the benefit of the privileged few. This must change: proportional representation will implement this change.

I do hope that Ms Nokes attends the debate on 30 October and considers replacing our failing voting system with one that works for the majority, for the common good, for the many and not just the privileged few.

Derek Chandler

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