The Liberal Democrats brought a motion to Full Council this week making the case for Proportional Representation.
Proportional Representation is Labour Party policy, but a policy that the Labour Party leader Keir Starmer decided to ignore. A policy aimed at improving democracy, democratically decided at Labour Conference, undemocratically dismissed!
Cllr Tom Miller made a speech saying the for the first time he was defying the Labour whip and would vote for the motion. As I understand it he was joined by Cllr Janice Long. Cllr Robert Johnson and Cllr Liz Dixon abstained. I would point out that the public watching on the livestream cannot see the voting and numbers are not announced by the Mayor - so I am open to correction.
This is the motion:
This Council believes:
The next General Election is an opportunity to take our country on a different course
after years of chaotic Tory rule. This is especially true in the aftermath of the Brexit
referendum, which saw the UK crash out of the European Union, with a bad deal, that
has left us diminished, poorer and less important on the world stage. The next General
Election will be fought under the antiquated First Past the Post voting system.
First Past the Post (FPTP) originated when land-owning aristocrats dominated
parliament and voting was restricted to property-owning men. It is not fit for a ‘modern
In Europe, only the UK and authoritarian Belarus still use archaic single-round FPTP
for general elections. This produces governments that have typically not had strong
support across the country.
Internationally, Proportional Representation (PR) is used to elect the Parliaments of
more than 80 countries. It is a system that works and has fostered a more consensual,
pragmatic way of conducting politics and policy making.
PR ensures that all votes count, have equal value, and that seats won match votes
cast. Under PR, MPs and Parliaments better reflect the age, gender and protected
characteristics of both local communities and of the nation. Whilst the UK has taken
leaps forwards in terms of electing a more diverse Parliament, we are still behind many
MPs better reflecting the communities they represent in turn leads to improved
decision making, wider participation and increased levels of ownership of decisions
taken. PR would also end minority rule. In 2019, 43.6% of the vote produced a
government with 56.2% of the seats and 100% of the power. Fair, proportional votes
also prevent ‘wrong winner’ elections such as occurred in 1951 and February 1974.
PR is now the national policy of the Labour Party, Liberal Democrats, Green Party,
SNP, Plaid Cymru and Women’s Equality Party along with a host of Trade Unions and
There is a growing consensus that the UK’s voting system must change.
PR is already used to elect the parliaments and assemblies of Scotland, Wales and
Northern Ireland. Its use should now be extended to include Westminster and
considered at a local level too.
Our democracy is in a fragile state, with confidence in politics at a record low.
Changing the voting system to guarantee that every vote counts equally can help to
inspire renewed confidence in our political system, increase participation and ensure
that the electorate are able to elect the type of government that the majority of the
British people want to see.
This Council therefore resolves to:
1) Join 29 other local authorities across the country, of different political
persuasions, in supporting calls for a change to the UK’s voting system to
2) Request that the Leader of the Council write to H.M. Government calling for a
change in our outdated electoral laws and to enable Proportional Representation
to be used for UK general elections and local Council elections.
3) Request that the Leader of the Council write to H.M Leader of the Opposition to
encourage that the Labour Party include changing the electoral system in their
next election manifesto.
Cllr Anton Georgiou
Well done Cllr Miller and Cllr Long. Rather sad that some of the young Turks in the Labour Group went along with opposition.
Supporting the motion Brent Green Party said:
The Green Party of England and Wales and Brent Green Party support Proportional Representation as a fairer, more inclusive electoral system for the United Kingdom. Currently UK national and local governments are often elected by a minority of voters. This is grossly unjust, each vote must matter in all elections, and the results must reflect what the people choose.