Sunday, 11 June 2017

800,000 people across Kent do not have an MP of their choice

Last week across Kent candidates stood to represent constituencies and to take our political views to Westminster. While 500,000 people voted for winning candidates, our first past the post electoral system has left over 800,000 in Kent with an MP they didn't vote for and who probably doesn't represent their views.

I do not believe this is fair or democratic. The UK is one of the few countries that continues with an electoral system that worked in distant past but now fails the majority of constituents.

Today I have asked all former parliamentary candidates across the 17 Kent constituencies to send a joint open letter to Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn this week, copied to the press, calling for an urgent change to a form of proportional representation.

Let's see who signs it!

The letter:

Dear Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn,

Here in Kent we have 17 constituencies, one of which has a Labour MP and 16 of which have Conservative MPs. There are 1.3 million people on the electoral register in Kent but only 503,000 voted for an MP who now represents them.

This means that we have over 800,000 people who have an MP that they did not vote for and who very probably doesn't represent their views. Far more people have no representation in Kent than are represented - this is not democracy.

Nationally, the number of votes that each party needs to gain a seat is completely disproportional. Dividing the number of votes nationally by the number of MPs elected for a party, the Greens returned 1 MP for 525,000 votes, UKIP returned no MPs despite 594,000 votes, the Lib Dems had an average of 198,000 votes per MP while Conservatives and Labour had averages of 43,000 and 49,000 respectively - and these vote shares were even more disproportional in 2015. This is not democracy.

The vast majority of OECD countries now have proportional systems of election for national government and of course we have proportional systems for regional and EU elections - demonstrating that governments have recognised that these are better than FPTP. Continuing with FPTP for UK general elections is simply not democratic.

The referendum in 2011 was for the Alternative Vote system. This is a voting system that is not proportional and therefore not democratic which is why it was rejected.

The First Past the Post system is a flawed legacy that needs to be replaced urgently. Our electoral system is broken and a proportional system of election will help fix it. People need to have MPs who represent their views.

Please bring a bill to introduce proportional representation before the next general election so that this country can finally become a democratic one.

Yours sincerely

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