Monday, March 3, 2014
Electoral reform is needed to give voters in areas dominated by one party some representation in the council chamber, according to a new report.
In areas such as Huntingdonshire, which for decades has been dominated by the Conservative Party, changes are needed to ensure councils are not ‘Labour-free zones’, the report from the Electoral Reform Society claims.
Towards One Nation calls for the introduction of a proportional voting system in local elections, saying it would provide a fairer representation of voters’ views and ensure parties that accumulate thousands of votes are not left without any councillors.
Using Huntingdonshire District Council as an example, the Electoral Reform Society says under a proportional system Labour would increase its number of councillors from one to seven. This is based on Labour’s share of the vote – 13.2 per cent.
East Cambridgeshire would go from having no Labour councillors to six, and Fenland would go from zero to seven.
Deputy chief executive of the Electoral Reform Society Darren Hughes said: “For all its ambition to represent people from across the country, Labour is practically non-existent in many areas – particularly in the south of England – despite commanding decent vote shares. In Fenland, nearly one in five people voted Labour in the last election and yet there wasn’t a single Labour councillor elected. This isn’t just a problem for Labour – it’s a problem for the health of our democracy. It makes a mockery of the idea of democratic representation. ‘No-go’ areas, where parties have little incentive to campaign, have no place in a modern democracy.”
The society uses similar arguments about the Conservative’s lack of success in local elections in the north of England to push for proportional representation.