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1.8m Scottish votes 'wasted' at general election

John Ashmore

2 min read

More than two thirds of general election votes in Scotland were wasted because they did not affect the result, new research has revealed.


The Electoral Reform Society (ERS) calculated that 66.4% of votes north of the border - equivalent to 1.8m people - did not count towards electing an MP under the first-past-the-post system.

The results also skewed heavily towards the Scottish National Party, who picked up 60% of parliamentary seats with just 37% of the vote.

Labour meanwhile got 27% of the vote and returned only 12% of MPs.

However the ERS said despite the imbalance, Scotland was "shifting back to multi-party politics" after years of SNP dominance.

At the same time the Society said the number of tight races meant Scotland was becoming a "lottery election", with many constituencies decided by just a handful of votes. 

The director of ERS Scotland, Willie Sullivan, said the latest data reinforced the case for a more proportional voting system for Westminster elections.

"Electors should be able to vote for parties they agree with on the broad sweep of policy, instead of feeling the need to vote tactically based on one significant issue such as independence or Brexit because they fear 'winner takes all' dominance," he said.

"A proportional system would allow for this, create a much broader discussion of politics ensure all votes are of equal value with citizens feeling empowered to take part."

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