Labour leadership candidates must back our calls for proportional representation

Liberal Democrats have long demanded fundamental reforms to the distribution of power: proportional voting, decentralisation, an elected second chamber.

Sadly, electoral reform has been lacking entirely from the Labour party’s leadership contest. That’s why, this week, I’ve written to the three remaining Labour leadership candidates, urging them to ditch our broken voting system in favour of proportional representation.

Read the letter in full below.

In this general election, the Liberal Democrats’ vote share went up by 4%, and we ended up with one less MP.

The Tories had a 1% increase in support, and got a majority of 80.

Our electoral system is broken.

— Liberal Democrats (@LibDems) December 17, 2019

The last three years, more than any before, has shown politics isn’t working for people. It is broken. Now is the time to hit the reset button.

After the last General Election, 14.5 million people have an MP they didn’t vote for.

At the last General Election the Conservatives, despite only getting 44% of votes, entered the House of Commons with 56% of seats. 14.5 million people have an MP they didn’t vote for, while 71% of votes were “wasted”. In Scotland, the situation was even worse, with the SNP securing 80% of the seats from 45% of the popular vote.

It is no wonder that people feel they have little or no influence on decision-making today. Our democracy doesn’t need piecemeal change. It needs an urgent and radical overhaul at all levels.

There are many issues we disagree on. But progressives right across UK, aside from Labour, agree that we have a decaying electoral system that shuts out too many from our democracy.

With a Prime Minister in Boris Johnson who tried to silence our democracy by unlawfully shutting down Parliament, nobody can trust him to fix our broken politics or the systems that support it.

So far in the Labour leadership contest, electoral reform has been dangerously absent.

It therefore isn’t good enough for the next Labour leader to sit on their hands and do nothing. It is past time Labour joined the progressive alliance in favour of electoral reform.

So far in the Labour leadership contest, electoral reform has been dangerously absent. I am therefore writing to you to urge you to make clear your support to align Labour with the growing progressive movement across the UK in favour of electoral reform.

Kind regards,

Wendy Chamberlain

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Constitutional Affairs