Switch from "First Past the Post" to Proportional Representation in General Elections
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In the United Kingdom, we presently have a "First Past the Post" system for our General Elections, but is it time to change to Proportional Representation?
Mr. Jeremy Corbyn, in the 2017 General Election, lead the Labour Party to receive 40.0% of the votes, and Mrs. Theresa May lead Conservatives to receive 42.4% of the votes. Having said this, Mrs. May and the Conservative Minority Government hold a lead of 56 seats in the House of Commons.
In terms of the House of Commons, 2% of the seats would be 13 seats, not 56. In hindsight, it is the minority that is represented in the votes.
Our constituencies presently require us to vote for our MP. However, if a candidate receives 53% of the vote and is duly elected to represent that constituency, the other 47% aren't represented.
This is where Proportional Representation comes in useful, it means that every vote matters.
During the 2017 General Election, we saw the Party Leaders targeting specific seats, and discarding "safe" seats. With a Proportional Representation system, this changes. Everyone would vote on who they wanted to be Prime Minister, making every vote valuable.
The problems arise when you consider that we also have Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland in the United Kingdom, but this can be addressed. In each General Election, the states of the United Kingdom will have their number of seats to elect (i.e. England will have 533 seats, Scotland will have 59), and this will be the same as it is currently. However, each state will vote for their "First Minister" so to speak. That means that we then have four First Ministers for each of the states making up the United Kingdom. The votes cast are them compiled, and then we get the overall total of votes.
The need for constituency MP voting isn't present, and you are only voting on the person you want to lead your state in the House of Commons.
When the votes are compiled, and all the seats are distributed proportionally across the four member states of the United Kingdom, we can then see how the House of Commons will look. For instance, the Liberal Democrats may receive 16% in England and 27% in Scotland. These seats would be combined, and the total number of seats required are then given to the Liberal Democrats. This would be replicated across the board.
Voting like this ensures that everyone is represented. It stops Party Leaders from targeting specific areas, and requires them to conduct a nationwide campaign.
We then come to the local MPs, which would be more simple to sort. If a constituency voted overwhelmingly in favour of Mr. Corbyn for Prime Minister, they would receive a Labour MP to represent them. Likewise if a constituency voted overwhelmingly in favour of Mrs. May for Prime Minister, they would receive a Conservative MP. This keeps going until we have a situation where the votes are almost equal between the parties. If we take Kensington, for instance, Labour won by 20 votes. A result like this shows that there's equal preference for the two main parties.
What is important to realise is that the Local MP represents everyone in their assigned constituency, not just the voters of their party - much like the current format.
But how would this affect the outcome of elections?
If we apply Proportional Representation to the 2017 General Election results, Conservatives would receive 276 seats (-42), Labour would receive 260 seats (-2), Scottish National Party would receive 20 seats (-14), Democratic Union Party would receive 6 seats (-4), Liberal Democrats would receive 48 seats (+36), Sinn Fein would receive 5 seats (-2), Plaid Cymru would receive 3 seats (-1), Green Party would receive 11 seats (+10), UK Independence Party would receive 12 seats (+12), Others would receive 4 seats (+3) Social Democratic and Labour Party would receive 2 seats (+2), Ulster Unionist Party would receive 2 seats (+2), and the Alliance Party would receive 1 seat (+1). As a result, it means that everyone has their voice represented, and votes become a lot more valuable for parties.
It is important to remember that I did not consider the state votes, just the votes of the United Kingdom as a whole (outcome may have been different)
In a time and era where our democracy is so important to us, maybe it's time to change to ensure that everyone, everywhere, is represented. Make all of our votes valuable, and stop the targeting of specific constituencies. It will affect and help us all.
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