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A historic cross-party consensus on Proportional Representation

Signed by political parties, MPs and campaign organisations from across the political spectrum, this agreement sets out the principles that we believe a new voting system must deliver, and calls for a citizen-led, deliberative process to choose a new system.

 
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+ Proportionality

"Good systems ensure that seats closely match votes, with parliamentary representation at least as proportional as the Scottish Parliament."

+ Representation

"Good systems ensure MPs and governments represent the views of the voters."

+ Equal votes

"Good systems ensure the value of individual votes is not distorted by factors such as geography, and minimise the need for tactical voting."

"Good systems maintain links between MPs and specific geographic areas."

+ Diversity

"Good systems encourage the election of parliaments reflecting the population."

+ Voter choice

"Good systems allow voters a wide choice of parties, and allow voters to express preferences for people rather than just parties. Any lists used must be democratically determined."

+ Accountability

"Good systems ensure MPs and governments are accountable to the voters."

+ Balance of stability and flexibility

"Good systems engender stable, flexible government that has the ability to compromise."

+ Sustainability and adaptability

"Good systems are able to respond and adapt to changing needs without requiring frequent or fundamental change."

+ Voting simplicity

"Good systems and ballot papers are easy for voters to understand and use."

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Political Parties

And MPs from…

+ Other signatory parties and organisations...

  • Common Weal
  • Compass
  • Conservative Action for Electoral Reform
  • Federalist Party
  • Forum for the Future
  • Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust
  • Labour Campaign for Electoral Reform
  • Labour Future
  • Make Votes Count In West Sussex
  • Make Votes Matter - many groups around the UK
  • Peter Tatchell Foundation
  • Radical Party
  • Represent
  • Sheffield for Democracy
  • Social Democratic Party
  • Something New
  • The Alternative
  • Unlock Democracy
  • Young People's Party

+ Signed in a personal capacity...

  • Adam Ramsay, Co-Editor, OpenDemocracy
  • Ben Heald, Chair of Sift
  • Professor David Soskice, LSE
  • David Wheeler, Footballer, Portsmouth Football Club
  • Edward Saperia, Dean of Newspeak House
  • Ella Saltmarshe, Co-founder, SHEvotes
  • George Monbiot, Guardian columnist and author
  • Helen Pankhurst, activist and writer
  • Huw Irranca-Davies AM, Labour Party
  • Iosif Kovras, Senior Lecturer, City University of London
  • Lord Jeff Rooker, Labour Party
  • Mary Honeyball, former Labour MEP
  • Professor Leophytos Loizides, University of Kent
  • Rory Bremner, impressionist and comedian
  • Roslyn Fuller, Director, Solonian Democracy Institute
  • Rupert Read, Chair, Green House
  • Yanis Varoufakis, former Finance Minister of Greece
  • Zoe Williams, journalist, columnist and author, Guardian
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“The best voting system for the UK would ideally be determined by citizens through an evidence-based, deliberative process.”

The signatories believe the best way to choose a new voting system for the UK is through a citizen-led, deliberative process - such as a citizens’ assembly.

A citizens’ assembly is a large group of ordinary people selected in a similar way to a jury, but with care taken to ensure it is representative of the population at large. They are given the opportunity to hear from and cross-examine experts, to deliberate and reach recommendations.

Internationally, citizens’ assemblies have been used successfully to make sensible and popular recommendations on a host of complex and controversial issues. As an example, the video below explains how a recent citizens’ assembly successfully broke the longstanding deadlock over reproductive rights in Ireland.

Alternatively, a broader constitutional convention could serve the same purpose, provided it: 1) has a specific focus on electoral reform; 2) has a short, fixed time-frame for recommending a new voting system within the next parliament; and, 3) is genuinely led by citizens rather than experts, politicians or party appointees. 

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