The United Kingdom uses the first-past-the-post (FPP) voting system for its general elections, which ensures that, election after election, the Conservative party or Labour party leads the government, with the other in opposition. These parties would be the ones who would have the power to change the system but, because the system benefits them, they naturally choose to keep FPP. This creates a vicious cycle and means that, election after election, FPP becomes further and further entrenched. For those who support voting reform, what can they do?

They could vote for a party that supports a proportional representation (PR) voting system but, due to FPP’s winner-takes-all setup, their vote would likely go to waste. They could also wait for the next hung parliament, and hope that a smaller party has enough influence (and determination) to hold a referendum on a PR voting system, but this depends on the luck of hung parliaments, and on the negotiating decisions of existing parties. So what options are left? If there is majority support for replacing FPP with a PR voting system, is there a systematic approach that supporters of voting reform could follow to bring about this change?

  • Vote for the party which promises to implement it. Maybe also join some demonstrations and campaign for it.
    – Trilarion
    Jan 30, 2018 at 14:04
  • Thanks, I agree with your first suggestion (see my answer below). As for your second suggestion, once the new party was set up, campaigning for it would be highly effective in my view. But campaigning for the cause without the new party would be a far from optimal use of resources. Jan 31, 2018 at 18:29

1 Answer 1

  1. Register a political party that has the following two pledges:

    (a) Hold a referendum on voting reform, giving the electorate a choice of the following four alternative voting systems: Additional Member System; Closed Party List; Open Party List; Single Transferable Vote.

    (b) Trigger a snap general election using the new voting system.

  2. Stand candidates in all 650 constituencies at the next UK general election.

  3. If the party wins a majority of seats and votes, deliver on its two pledges. If the party wins a majority of seats but not a majority of votes, add to the referendum the question of whether a change from FPP is wanted at all.
  4. If the party wins a minority of seats, work with other parties to try to deliver the two pledges anyway.
  5. For any MPs unable to deliver on the pledges, have them vacate their seats.

I asked this question previously, but didn’t answer it myself. It can be found here: What can UK citizens do to replace first past the post with a proportional representation voting system?

My lengthy responses seemed to go against the SE culture, so I won’t be responding at length here. Also, some users thought that the question was too opinion-based, but I've posted this because there's a similar question (related to the USA) that hasn't had that response.

For those who are interested, I’ve written a book on this plan. It’s called The Snap Election Plan, and can be found on Amazon in eBook and paperback formats. I’ve also set up a Facebook page at www.facebook.com/snapelecplan

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