LETTER: Dispute government statements on electoral reform
I was delighted to read in the November 9 issue of the Chichester Observer that a delegation had met with our MP Gillian Keegan to discuss electoral reform and a change from the currently unrepresentative, and thus undemocratic, first past the post system to a proportional representation system.
Although in your article you quote the Conservative government’s position which states that we currently have a ‘robust method of electing MPs’ and that the country rejected change in the 2011 referendum, I would dispute both of these statements.
Our current system can hardly be called robust when it is patently unfair in that the majority of constituencies which are not marginal, however one votes, one’s vote does not affect the result, and hence does not count, and one is not represented by a person or party that one has voted for. This has been my experience in the 30-plus years I have lived and voted in Chichester at both local and national level. As well as this we know that under the current system governments can be elected with less than the majority of people in the country voting for them, as is the case now.
The second statement referring to the 2011 referendum is correct in that the country rejected change then, but not to a proportionally representational system. The system we were offered in that referendum was not proportional. Much has changed in politics since then, and as the last two general elections (2015 and 2017) have illustrated, there are more credible parties to choose from, yet the system still grossly favours only the main two: Conservative or Labour.
I sincerely hope that the delegation who met with Gillian Keegan were able to persuade her of the advantages of pressing for change. I understand that, although she was unable to attend the debate on electoral reform in Westminster, she agreed to meet with the Conservative Leader of the Conservative Group for Electoral Reform.
I look forward to reading more in your paper about the outcome of this meeting. No doubt one of your reporters will be following this up with our new MP.