Labour motion builder

Use the bullet points below as inspiration for your Labour Party motion. There are lots of arguments for electoral reform… we recommend focusing on a couple that are most important to you. Adding facts and figures from your local area can be a great way to make your point! If you want a second opinion on your motion you can email us at labour4pr@makevotesmatter.org.uk

Problems with First Past the Post

  • First Past the Post delivers unrepresentative parliaments that do not reflect the way the British people voted - handing parliamentary majorities that do not have majority support and shutting out diverse political voices. The current Tory-DUP government shared just 43% of votes cast, but have a majority of seats in Parliament. In 2015, the Conservatives won a majority of seats with less than 37% of the vote.

  • First Past the Post forces Labour to focus on marginal constituencies - meaning that we neglect voters and party activists across vast areas of the country represented by safe seats. We cannot be a party “for the many” when we focus on a minority of voters.

  • First Past the Post forces millions of people into tactical voting. 20-30% of those polled before the 2017 general elections said they planned to vote tactically. In a democracy, people should be able to vote for what they believe in without fear of “wasting” their vote.

  • Because of our First Past the Post electoral system, 68% of votes in the last general election were “wasted votes”- either they went to losing candidates or they went to winning candidates over and above what was needed to win. In 2015, 74% of votes were wasted in this way. People cannot have confidence our democracy when most votes have no tangible impact.

  • In three of last four general elections, most people who voted ended up with an MP they didn’t vote for. Across the UK, millions of votes go to losing candidates and voters end up with an MP who does not represent their views.

  • In our general elections, parties frequently gain votes but lose seats or lose votes but gain seats. This has happened to at least one of the major parties in most of our general elections. In 1983, the Conservative vote fell by 1.5%, but they were rewarded with a landslide majority. In 2015, Labour gained 1.5% of the vote but lost 26 seats. This goes against the basic idea of democracy: that the amount of power a party has depends on the share of the vote it gets.

  • First Past the Post cannot even ensure the side with most votes wins most seats. We have had two elections in the last 70 years in which the party that won the vote came second in terms of seats. This includes 1951, when Labour won the highest share of the vote we have ever achieved and beat the Tories, yet the result was a Conservative majority government.

  • First Past the Post has a “substantive conservative bias” according to political scientists, not just in the UK but wherever it is used. Studies have found countries with First Past the Post to have right-wing governments significantly more of the time than countries with Proportional Representation.

Arguments for Proportional Representation

  • Proportional Representation is the developed world’s normal way of doing democracy. 85% of OECD use PR in some form - including all of the worlds’s most stable, equal, progressive societies.

  • There are good systems of Proportional Representation that maintain a strong constituency link and allow people to vote for candidates, not just party lists, which are already used in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as across the rest of the developed world.

  • Proportional Representation would mean that almost everyone can be represented by an MP of their choosing - not just those of us lucky enough to live in seats that Labour can win.

  • Proportional Representation would mean that Parliament reflects the balance of opinion in the UK and would empower the progressive majority. In 14 of last 15 general elections most people voted for parties to the left of the Conservatives, yet the Tories have been in power for most of this time.

  • Political science has found that countries with Proportional Representation tend to be much more successful as progressive societies “for the many”. They have better levels of income equality, are more likely to be welfare states, have on average 4.75% higher social expenditure, better environmental protection and take faster action on climate change.

  • Proportional Representation means higher voter turnouts (on average by 5-8%) and better gender balance in politics. Every country with more than 40% women in parliament uses PR.