FORWARD-thinking Stratford councillors convinced their colleagues to back them in their call for a shake-up of the national voting system.
Coun Olivia Hatch and Coun Jenny Fradgley put their case for proportional representation at a meeting of Stratford District Council on Monday (October 16).
The two councillors convinced their fellow members of the council that the “archaic” First Past The Post method should be scrapped and PR introduced instead. SDC will now write to Westminster expressing its views.
Coun Hatch and Coun Fradgley explained FPTP originated when land-owning aristocrats dominated parliament and voting was restricted to property-owning men.
In Europe, only the UK and authoritarian Belarus still use the single-round FPTP for general elections.
Internationally, PR is used to elect the parliaments of more than 80 countries. These countries tend to be more equal, freer and greener, according to the two coucillors. PR ensures all votes count, have equal value, and that seats won match votes cast.
Their statement which went before councillors continues: “Under PR, MPs and parliaments better reflect the age, gender and protected characteristics of both local communities and of the nation. MPs better reflecting the communities they represent in turn leads to improved decision making, wider participation and increased levels of ownership of decisions taken.
“PR would also end minority rule. In 2019, 43.6 per cent of the vote produced a government with 56.2 per cent of the seats and 100 per cent of the power. Fair, proportional votes also prevent ‘wrong winner’ elections such as occurred in 1951 and February 1974.
“PR is the national policy of the Labour Party, Liberal Democrats, Green Party, SNP, Plaid Cymru, Reform UK and Women’s Equality Party along with a host of Trade Unions and prodemocracy organisations. PR is already used to elect the parliaments and assemblies of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Its use should now be extended to include Westminster.”
Members of the council will now write to the government calling for a change in the electoral laws and to enable Proportional Representation to be used for UK general elections.