This petition has over 15,000 signatures and was referenced in our cross party open letter and an article in the Independent on July 1st 2016. You can still sign below and you can also sign Owen's original petition that has over 240,000 signatures - Change.org has just invited him to update and reopen it as PR is such a hot topic right now!
Members of Parliament:
Call a General Election using Proportional Representation
Our future outside the EU must be negotiated by a democratically legitimate government
We, the undersigned, call for the early dissolution of Parliament and for a General Election to be held using a system of Proportional Representation. It should ensure;
That those who are entitled to vote have a vote that counts, and counts equally - no matter who they vote for, or where they live;
That the share of seats a party gets should closely reflect the share of votes the people give them.
Before the referendum, I didn't know much about the EU. But, as a 17 year old, I knew that the biggest impact of the decision would be on my generation. I wanted to find out more about what would happen in the event of a Brexit.
Now that Britain has voted Leave, here’s what will happen next:
Britain hasn't left the EU yet. Although it is unthinkable that MPs would ignore the result of a referendum, they must pass an Act of Parliament to confirm that Britain will Leave the EU. This will then trigger Article 50 of the European Union, notifying the European Council that we are leaving. EU treaties still apply to the UK for 2 years whilst we negotiate our exit.
Although the referendum was undoubtedly important, I discovered that it is during these two years that the real decisions will be made.
The most important questions have not been answered. Decisions about trade, immigration, sovereignty and our foreign policy are yet to be made. This is why we need an election.
Over the next two years, the government will be negotiating the future of our country. It's vital that this negotiation has democratic legitimacy and commands the support of the people. The 2015 General Election manifestos did not include plans for a Britain out of Europe, so the people have endorsed no particular ‘exit plan’.
David Cameron has now announced that he will resign as Prime Minister by October, and so a new Conservative Leader will become our new PM - without the public able to give or withhold their consent at the ballot box. Such a profound change further undermines the Government's already-questionable mandate.
For the fundamental decisions that will be made in the next two years to be legitimate, we need an election. This election should use proportional representation.
After a divisive referendum campaign, UK public opinion is deeply split. The only way to reconcile our differences is an election where all voters have a stake in the result. As David Cameron said, every vote in a referendum ‘counts the same’. Surely this should apply for general elections too?
The highest national turnout in any vote since 1992, shows that when people believe their vote counts and counts equally, they engage. Citizens of all ages who had never voted before, came into our electorate this Thursday - and on both sides. It's the responsibility of our government to institute a voting system that allows every citizens to feel and know their vote counts at *every* election.
It would also ensure that the government elected would have the support of at least 50% of the voters, unlike the current government which was elected by just 37% of the voters and only 24% of the electorate. Without majority support of the country, the government cannot act in the name of the people, and will not have a mandate for its proposals.
2015 was the most disproportionate election in British history. First Past the Post is not fit for purpose. It's time we changed to a proportional system for Westminster elections.
Under First Past the Post (FPTP), MPs can be elected on very small shares of the vote. In Belfast South, for example, the winning candidate won just 24.5% of the vote. Proportional representation would give far more of the population an MP who they felt could adequately represent them.
FPTP warps election results. 2015 was the most disproportionate election in British history. One party needed only 23,000 votes to win a seat, whilst another needed almost 4 million.
FPTP encourages tactical voting, which is undemocratic. The system forces people to vote for a candidate they do not support, in order to beat the candidate they like even less. With proportional representation, everyone would be free to vote for what they believe in.
With FPTP, most votes are ‘wasted’. Votes for losing candidates, or above the level needed to win that seat, do not count for anything. Under proportional representation, every vote would make a difference to the final election result and every voter would be able to make a difference.
I may not have been able to vote in this referendum, but I do recognise the massive issues at stake and the great decisions that we face. An election now, using proportional representation, is a chance for the whole country to come together and forge Britain’s path into the future. In the coming debates and decisions, every voice needs to be heard.
Owen Winter, 17, Member of Youth Parliament for Cornwall and Make Votes Matter Spokesperson