The path to PR

                          Great Gathering for Voting Reform, July 2015

                          Great Gathering for Voting Reform, July 2015

Polls consistently show that a large majority of the British public support a move to a proportional electoral system. However, there are considerable barriers to change. Most significantly, any government with the power to change the electoral system has, by definition, benefited from the distorting effects of First Past the Post. Time and again this has led sitting governments to delay and divert - with Labour failing to act on the recommendations of the Jenkins Report (1998) and the coalition government holding a referendum on adopting the equally-disproportionate Alternative Vote (2011).

Our approach to winning the change we need is two-fold.

Make Votes Matter is helping a grassroots movement develop across the country to press the government for a fair, proportional electoral system. Wherever political and social progress has been made in history, it has only been made possible by ordinary people organising and taking action - whether it is civil rights, labour rights or universal suffrage. Winning real democracy is no different. That is why we are supporting and coordinating local campaigns for reform across the UK, engaging and informing the public about the issue, and bringing these groups together for demonstrations like last year's Great Gathering For Voting Reform and this year's Demo for Democracy on the anniversary of the most disproportionate election ever. Since then we've held numerous other public events, including many local group meetings, often with MPs in attendance and festivals. We also regularly run letter writing campaigns and petitions for people to get involved with and are always open to suggestions of campaign ideas.

At the same time, we are working to build the Make Votes Matter Alliance of pro-reform parties, organisations and individuals, at a leadership level. In February 2016 we held an Alliance Building Conference in London, with delegates from the main political parties, campaign groups, local democracy groups and public figures. At this we saw broad agreement on the principles of a fair voting system - as set out in our Declaration for Voting Reform - and agreed to work together on this single issue campaign to ensure that the General Election in 2020 is the last in British history to be held under the outdated and unfair First Past the Post system. We work closely with the pro-reform parties and MPs to keep PR on the agenda and are constantly building support through meetings with politicians and events like Time for Labour to Embrace PR. We are even starting to bring Conservatives into the MVM Alliance!

   Delegates in discussion at the PR Alliance Building Conference, February 2016. Photo: Nick Hooper