Adopt Proportional Representation for the House of Commons - we need to make votes matter

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Chris Sampson
Chris Sampson signed this petition

I was 16 years old at the 2015 general election. I couldn’t vote but I was frustrated that the election results didn’t reflect how people voted, so I started this petition for a fairer voting system.

Four years on, I am continuing to campaign for a voting system which ensures that all votes count. I want to be able to vote for whichever party I support without being scared of ‘wasting my vote’ or ‘letting the other side in’. I want a vote that counts.

The 2019 General Election will result in an unrepresentative Parliament that fails to represent British voters. This must be the last election ever held under the archaic First Past the Post system.

At the 2017 General Election, First Past the Post left us with an unscrupulous deal between the Conservatives and the DUP - two parties which between them won only 43% of the vote. The Green Party, Liberal Democrats and UKIP won 11% of the votes but now make up just 2% of MPs. A vote for the Scottish National Party was worth 18 times as much as a vote for the Green Party. UKIP won half a million votes but no MPs.

The First Past the Post voting system is undemocratic and dramatically distorts the results of our elections.

Unfortunately, it seems like the 2019 election results will be just as unrepresentative. YouGov’s recent seat estimates, which correctly predicted a hung parliament in 2010, suggest that the Conservatives could win as many as 55% of the seats with just 43% of the vote. This would mean a government with almost absolute power despite 57% of votes being cast against them.

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats would almost double their vote share but win only one additional seat. Between them, the Lib Dems, Greens and Brexit Party would win 1/5 of the votes but just 1/50 of the seats.

Politics doesn’t have to be this way - we want real democracy!

Clearly, First Past the Post is broken. It does not represent voters or produce effective government. Fortunately, there is an alternative.

Around the world, over 80% of developed democracies use some form of Proportional Representation. Proportional Representation (PR) simply means an electoral system in which seats closely match votes. If you win 10% of votes under PR, you should win close to 10% of the seats.

The evidence from academics shows that this is a far more effective way of electing MPs. PR means politicians are forced to work for everyone, not just marginal voters in swing seats. This means PR countries tend to have higher voter turnout, better representation of women in Parliament and higher satisfaction with democracy. Better yet, this translates into concrete policy outcomes. PR countries have lower income inequality, lower levels of poverty, and are more likely to take action to tackle the climate crisis.

What can I do to help?

We are building a grassroots movement to change the voting system. After 2015, when I started this petition, I helped co-found Make Votes Matter, the campaign for PR in the House of Commons. We have made so much progress since 2015, but we need your help.

Already, all of the British opposition parties aside from Labour have signed up to changing the voting system, and Labour is on the verge of committing to reform. Local activist meetings have been changing MPs’ minds, one by one.

We know we can convince politicians when we have public pressure behind us, so please sign and share this petition to send a message to whoever is elected on December 12th - we want Proportional Representation.

Together we can keep this issue at the top of the agenda. If you’d like to join thousands of us all over the country who are taking action to make votes matter, sign up at www.makevotesmatter.org.uk