Tweaking constituency boundaries cannot make our elections fair; we need Proportional Representation

Sign our open letter to Theresa May and Chris Skidmore!

The Boundary Commission today published the details of its proposed changes to constituency boundaries in England and Wales. According to Minister Chris Skidmore, “Equalising the size of constituencies in the Boundary Review will mean everyone’s vote will carry equal weight.”

But the boundaries of the constituencies are not the problem: The problem is our First Past the Post (FPTP) voting system. 

In a multiparty democracy, it is simply not possible to draw the Parliamentary map in a way that makes all votes matter and that ensures that the House of Commons resembles the voters - as long as we have this primitive and perverse voting system.

Wherever the lines fall on the map, FPTP ensures there are constituencies like Belfast South - whose MP was elected on 24.5% of the vote in 2015 - just 9,560 votes.

However the boundaries are redrawn, First Past the Post cannot ensure that seats will match votes at the next election.

However the boundaries are redrawn, First Past the Post cannot ensure that seats will match votes at the next election.

Compare that to the Liverpool Walton constituency, which (Mr Skidmore will be pleased to hear) had almost exactly the same number of registered voters as Belfast South in 2015. But here, 81.3% - or 31,222 people - voted for the winning candidate. 

9,560 votes in Belfast achieved exactly the same outcome as 31,222 votes in Liverpool - electing a single MP. This is not because the constituencies are different sizes - but because it is impossible for FPTP with single member constituencies to ensure there is fair representation of a diverse electorate with a wide range of political preferences.

When you apply our broken voting system across the whole country, you end up with what we have: a Parliament in which a party’s share of the seats has little relationship to the number of votes they received.

 

CGP Grey explains how our electoral system is responsible for the most disproportionate election in British history.

 

Until we join the 83% of developed democracies which use some form of Proportional Representation, Parliament will remain unrepresentative of the voters and our democracy will remain broken. 

Our open letter to Theresa May and Chris Skidmore calls on the government to put the principle of equal votes into practice by making a full, fair and public assessment of our electoral system and the need for PR.

We invite you to sign the letter and add your own message telling them why you believe the UK needs Proportional Representation.