Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:46 pm on 6th September 2010.

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Photo of Daniel Kawczynski Daniel Kawczynski Conservative, Shrewsbury and Atcham 7:46 pm, 6th September 2010

Right, there we are: we are trying to follow the example of Papua New Guinea and Fiji.

I have to say, however, that we should remember what happened in Tasmania, where the third candidate-the candidate who lost-ended up winning the seat because second and third preferences propelled him to victory. I do not want the least objected to to win; I want the most popular to win. I have come into politics because I believe in a certain ideology-a right-of-centre ideology. I want to go to the people of Shrewsbury and put that ideology to them-to stand on my convictions and ask them for a vote. I do not want to hide my views and feelings. I do not want to compromise or try to be all things to all people; I want a vote because I have garnered the most support.

Like me, millions of people will vote for only one party. I will never vote for any party apart from the Conservative party. That is my preference, but I will always vote only for the Conservative party. Millions out there like me will also vote for only one party; or, they will vote only for the party that comes first or second, so they have only one vote. However, those who vote for the BNP will always get two bites of the cherry. What really frustrates me is that their second preferences-or the "I don't mind" candidates, as I call them-weigh in the same way as my vote. When I go to the polling station and put my cross next to a name, I take that very seriously indeed. I know that many people in my grandfather's generation died-all the airmen in the battle of Britain; there were many Poles-so that we would have the right to vote, yet my vote will be counted in the same way as somebody else's second preference. In my view it is absolutely disgusting.

If we are going to make a change, it should be to the European Union elections, in which there are turnouts of only 30%. I offer my constituents £100 if they can name me any Member of the European Parliament who represents us. So far I have not lost a penny. Why? Because Members of the European Parliament are elected to represent the whole of the west midlands, an area of 5.5 million people. None of our Members of the European Parliament lives in Shropshire, has an office in Shropshire, has a home in Shropshire or holds surgeries in Shropshire. How can someone be accountable to the people of Shropshire if they are elected under a ludicrous PR system, representing an area larger than many European Union countries? If we are going to change any voting system, let us change the voting system for the European Union elections, not the system for Westminster elections, which people are happy with so far.

The second aspect of the Bill is one that I do approve of: having seats of equal size. However, I want very much that as much respect as possible should be shown to county boundaries. I feel passionately about Shropshire. That is what I am all about: representing my seat. I do not want to represent any other county. I do not want to be a Member of Parliament if I have to represent something outside Shropshire. I make that pledge to my constituents: that I will stand for election only if I can continue to represent Shropshire.