An Open Letter to:
A winner-takes-all election can only divide us;
Proportional Representation would help bring people together
For the vast majority of the world’s developed democracies, a General Election is the time at which Parliament is brought up to date with the views of the public. Parties win seats in proportion to the share of the votes they receive - so Parliament comes to reflect the balance of opinion held by the people.
However, in the United Kingdom this is not the case. There is no reason to expect our Parliament to better reflect the electorate the day after a General Election than it did the day before. The reason for this difference is that, while most of our peers use proportional voting systems, the UK is one of the last developed nations still to use First Past the Post.
Instead of producing a Parliament that reflects the people, First Past the Post grossly distorts the decisions made by the voters. In the last election many millions voted for parties that now have little or no representation in Parliament, while other parties took a share of seats far greater than their share of the votes.
It has been said that this General Election will bring about “unity” after the divisive EU referendum campaign, but it is hard to imagine how a winner-takes-all election will bring people together when so many voices will not be heard. With the country deeply divided and more politically diverse than ever, we need a Parliament that genuinely reflects the views of all voters. The way to achieve this is the way most countries achieve it: a form of Proportional Representation.
Research over many decades shows that countries with proportional voting systems tend to perform better on a wide range of economic and social issues. They also have greater democratic participation and performance; the nations that are independently assessed as being the most democratic all use Proportional Representation.
Every opinion poll shows that the overwhelming majority want seats to match votes*; the move to Proportional Representation is inevitable. By making this the last General Election held under our broken voting system, you will stand on the right side of history and create a democracy fit for the 21st Century.
To bring people together and for the sake of our democracy we call on you to make votes matter by adopting a proportional voting system.
*Since this letter opened for signatures, a poll conducted by ICM on behalf of Make Votes Matter found that 67% of those polled believe that seats should match votes, with just 12% disagreeing.
This letter has been signed by:
Owen Winter, on behalf of Make Votes Matter
Caroline Lucas MP & Jonathan Bartley, Co-leaders, on behalf of the Green Party
Lord Paul Tyler, Spokesperson for Constitutional Reform, on behalf of the Liberal Democrats
Leanne Wood AM, Leader, on behalf of Plaid Cymru
Tommy Sheppard MP, Spokesperson on the Cabinet Office, on behalf of the Scottish National Party
Mark Durkan MP for Foyle, on behalf of the Social Democratic and Labour Party
Paul Nuttall, Leader, on behalf of the United Kingdom Independence Party
Sophie Walker, Leader, on behalf of the Women's Equality Party
Howard Beckett, Assistant General Secretary, Unite the Union
Alan Whitehead MP for Southampton Test, Labour Party
Ben Bradshaw MP for Exeter, Labour Party
Ben Howlett MP for Bath, Conservative Party
Clive Lewis MP for Norwich South, Labour Party
Daniel Zeichner MP, Shadow Minister for Transport, Labour Party
Graham Allen MP for Nottingham North, Labour Party
Jon Cruddas MP for Dagenham and Rainham, Labour Party
Linda McAvan MEP or Yorkshire and the Humber
Mary Honeyball MEP for London, Labour Party
Nigel Farage MEP for South East England, former UKIP leader
Paul Flynn MP for Newport West, Labour Party
Richard Burden MP, Shadow Minister for Transport, Labour Party
Sian Berry, Leader of the Green Party in the London Assembly
Stephen Kinnock MP for Aberavon, Labour Party
Amir Amirani, film-maker
Andrew George, parliamentary candidate, Liberal Democrats
Bernie Tormé, guitarist and frontman
Billy Bragg, singer, songwriter & activist
Brian Eno, musician & artist
Catherine Mayer, author, co-founder & president, Women's Equality Party
Francesca Martinez, comedian, writer and actress
George Monbiot, author & columnist
Iosif Kovras, senior lecturer in comparative politics, City University of London
Jamie Byng, publisher
Jonathon Porritt, environmentalist & writer (Forum for the Future)
Lewis Baston, political analyst and writer
Neophytos Loizides, professor, School of Politics & International Relation, University of Kent
Peter Tatchell, campaigner (Peter Tatchell Foundation)
Polly Toynbee, journalist and writer, Guardian
Raoul Martinez, film director, artist, philosopher & writer
Zoe Williams, columnist, journalist, and author, Guardian
Robin McAlpine, Director, on behalf of Common Weal
Neal Lawson, Chair, on behalf of Compass
John Strafford, Vice Chair, on behalf of Conservative Action for Electoral Reform
Katie Ghose, Chief Executive, on behalf of the Electoral Reform Society
Rupert Read, Chair, on behalf of Green House
Simon Burall, Director, on behalf of Involve
Fiona Weir, Chief Executive, on behalf of Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust Limited
Mary Southcott, Parliamentary & political officer, on behalf of the Labour Campaign for Electoral Reform
Crispin Allard, Chair, on behalf of Liberal Democrats for Electoral Reform
David A Elston, Acting Leader, on behalf of Pirate Party UK
Mariam Cook, Founder, on behalf of PositionDial
Ed Dowding, Founder, on behalf of Represent
Matt Gillow, Managing Director, and Cameron Broome, Editor-in-Chief, on behalf of TalkPolitics
Alexandra Runswick, Director, on behalf of Unlock Democracy
Colin Bex, President, on behalf of Wessex Regionalists
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