Proportional Representation: House of Commons — [Mr Nigel Evans in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:44 pm on 23rd April 2019.

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Photo of Vicky Ford Vicky Ford Conservative, Chelmsford 4:44 pm, 23rd April 2019

We could use the German system—a national system with a national list, which means that a candidate needs 0.7% of the vote to get a seat. My point is that, especially as turnout is low, a very small number of votes can give people with quite extreme views credibility, funding and access to support, so we should be very wary.

In my experience, proportional representation also really changes a Member’s relationship with their voters. Because there are multiple Members for each seat, there have to be wider constituencies, meaning that Members do not have the same close relationship with their voters. [Interruption.] I will not give way, I am afraid, because lots of people want to speak. Under proportional representation, Members do not have the same intimate relationship with their voters, in which the voters know, “That is my MP; I can hold that person responsible,” and the Member knows they are responsible to those people. Proportional representation breaks the link between the voter and the elected representative. I would be very wary of doing that to our democracy.

Democracy, as Winston Churchill said, is the worst form of government, apart from all the rest. Trust in our politics is very low, but I do not believe that changing our electoral system is a miracle cure or a silver bullet that will solve that problem.