Wednesday, February 03, 2010

That referendum on AV, could be on STV

Well, the Government Amendment on the use of the Alternative Vote (AV) for Westminster elections has now been tabled ... you can see it here.

Pretty straightforward to adjust it from a majoritarian system to a proportional system ...

Under the section on Referendum on voting systems:

- amend clause 2a to read Single Transferable Vote system

- amend clause 3 to read Single Transferable Vote system

- delete clauses 4, 5 and 6; and replace with:

In this section “Single Transferable Vote system” means a system under which:

- The number of Members of Parliament to be returned in a constituency shall be either two, three, four or five, as determined by order.

- Different numbers may be determined in relation to different constituencies.

In each constituency in which there is a contested election, a poll shall be held at which each person entitled to vote as an elector may vote by marking on the ballot paper:

- the voter’s first preference from among the candidates to be Member of Parliament, and

- if there are three or more candidates and the voter wishes to express a further preference for one or more of those candidates, the voter’s second and, if the voter wishes, subsequent preferences from among those candidates.

Then re-number remaining clauses as appropriate!

Its certainly not rocket-science.

Any bets on the first MP to table such an Amendment??


Not a Village in Westminster said...

Unfortunately the choice of AV is being made on political calculations, serving to both bury the real debate which is needed on the problems in our democracy; and to heighten the public's perception that this issue is purely about parties doing best for themselves rather than best for the electorate.

The changes you have suggested will be tabled, most likely by a Lib Dem. And as such they will be ignored - the Lib Dems are making their stance from a political success perspective as well. Parties of course have to try and win, but it doesn't increase public trust or respect in them.

Sadly, a missed opportunity I think.

Andrew said...


Thanks for the comment ...

... I basically agree - but surely doesn't mean that electoral reformers should give up and NOT press for the Bill to be amended?

I know the chances of success are slim, but at the very least we now have a narrative from Labour that openly acknowledges that FPTP is not fit-for-purpose.

As the Guardian Leader-column concludes today: "something ere the end, some work of noble note, may yet be done."


Not a Village in Westminster said...

Absolutely not Andrew, it is very important that campaigners keep pushing for more. And I agree that the acceptance that FPTP is failing (even if Jenkins pointed it out after the 97 victory!) is at least a change in the status quo.

The problem is that if AV is introduced then it may signal the end of the conversation for some time - I can't imagine the public looking for another referendum too quickly afterwards! It's certainly a difficult position for the ERS to work out, remember us all discussing this at a away day when I worked for the Society!

Here's hoping for the noble work ere the end!