New Clause 88 — Referendum on voting systems

Part of Bill Presented — Climate Change (Sectoral Targets) Bill – in the House of Commons at 7:30 pm on 9th February 2010.

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Photo of Jeremy Browne Jeremy Browne Shadow Minister (Treasury) 7:30 pm, 9th February 2010

Is not the crucial change this: that in the 1950s the combined Labour-Conservative vote rose as high as 97 or 98 per cent. of the electorate. In those circumstances, one can see that a system designed for two parties may give an outcome that broadly reflects public opinion. At the last general election, the combined Labour-Conservative vote fell below 70 per cent. for the first time since the second world war. In the European elections last year, admittedly on a different electoral system, the combined Labour-Conservative vote for the first time fell below 50 per cent. In other words, more people did not vote for what used to be called the main parties than did. Under those circumstances, it is becoming increasingly difficult for either Labour or Conservative MPs to make a compelling case for an electoral system that rewards with absolute power parties that can command the support of only about a third of the electorate.

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