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Friday, July 05, 2024

The discredited first past the post system - updated

It is unusual for the Liberal Democrats to actually benefit from the first past the post voting system but yesterday they were one of the few parties whose seat total actually came close to their percentage of votes - seventy one seats so far or 11% of the available seats for 12% of the vote.

The biggest losers were the Tories who with 121 seats, amounting to 18.6% of the total MPs, actually polled 24% of the votes, while the biggest winner were Labour, whose vote share of 34% barely lifted off its 2019 level of 32.2%, but who have secured 412 seats, the equivalent of 63% of the membership of the House of Commons.

In many ways it is gratifying to see the Tory Party, who so strongly opposed proportional representation in the 2011 referendum get punished in this way. Despite this, I'm not expecting them to change their mind on electoral reform, nor is Keir Starmer going to jeopardise his super-majority in the future by doing a u-turn either.

The combined vote of the Labour and Tory parties amounts to just 58% of those cast, but they hold  83% of the seats between them. That is the smallest share of the vote for the two biggest parties ever.

This election result highlights the basic unfairness of our voting system in a very dramatic way. Surely, it is time to change it to a fairer one in which people actually get what they voted for.
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