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Fri, 26 February 2021

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Brexit Party teams up with Lib Dems to call for major shake-up of UK voting system

Brexit Party teams up with Lib Dems to call for major shake-up of UK voting system
2 min read

The Brexit Party has formed an unlikely alliance with the Liberal Democrats to demand an overhaul of Westminster's "abysmal" first-past-the-post voting system.


The new outfit - set up just months ago by former Ukip chief Nigel Farage - branded the current set-up for choosing MPs a "failure", as it signed a fresh cross-party pact calling for change.

First-past-the-post sees each seat in Parliament handed to the candidate who wins a simple majority of votes in a constituency.

But critics of the system argue that it leads to millions of votes being wasted and shuts out smaller parties.

A new effort to ditch the system has been launched by campaign group Make Votes Matter and has also won support from Conservative, Labour, SNP, Plaid Cymru and Green Party MPs.

Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice MEP said: "Parliament's handling of Brexit has been an abysmal failure.

"The political establishment has shown time and again that it cannot be relied upon to represent the people, but these failings are entrenched by First Past the Post.

"We need to bring in Proportional Representation to change politics for good - and this agreement will help bring that about."

That view was echoed by Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable, who said the current electoral system left "millions of people feeling powerless and excluded".

He added: "Government is much more likely to act for the common good when politicians and parties are responsive to all the people, not just a few swing-voters in a handful of marginal seats.

"Liberal Democrats have always campaigned for fairer and more democratic elections. I’m delighted members of other parties are working with us in the Make Votes Matter alliance to set out the principles that should shape a new proportional system for the House of Commons."

The cross-party group says any new Westminster voting system must keep the link between MPs and their local area - and should remain "easy for voters to understand and use".

It is demanding an "evidence-based, deliberative" process for picking a new voting system by bringing together members of the public in so-called 'citizen's assemblies'.

The new system must be "at least as proportional as the Scottish Parliament", it says, and should ensure MPs and governments better "represent the views of voters".

Labour MP Jonathan Reynolds said: "This new cross-party agreement urges everyone in politics to get behind a voting system that ensures seats match votes, while making clear the need to retain the local constituency link between MPs and voters."

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