18th June Letter to Jesse Norman MP

Dear Jesse

I understand that next Monday, 20 September, the House of Commons will  debate a motion which could lead to an amendment to the Elections Bill  and change the voting system for Police and Crime Commissioners and the  metro-mayors to First Past the Post instead of the present Supplementary  Vote system.

While SV may be less effective in representing constituents’ views than  other forms of PR, it is at least more representative than FPTP.

Changing to FPTP would be a move in the wrong direction.

I was astonished to read a claim in a Government press release on 15  September First Past the Post to be introduced for all local mayoral and  police and crime commissioner elections – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) that  “First Past the Post is the world’s most widely used electoral system.”

Wikipedia may not always be reliable but it says: “FPTP is used as the  primary form of allocating seats for legislative elections in about a  third of the world’s countries, mostly in the English-speaking world.”

Is the Cabinet Office claim based on the fact that some PR systems use a  combination of FPTP alongside party lists? If so, it’s a highly  misleading statement.

The press release also criticised that “In this May’s London Mayoral  elections, the Supplementary Vote system saw hundreds of thousands void,  wasted or blank votes cast, reflecting voter confusion and the complex  system. ” I don’t know how they calculated that. Perhaps it depends on a  definition of “waste”.  With FPTP, where a candidate is often elected  with only 30-40% of the vote, wouldn’t it be fair to say that 60-70% of  the votes are wasted because they don’t count for anything?

I urge you to vote against the motion.

Regards

Richard

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