A leading left-wing pressure group has called for “none of the above” to be added to UK ballot papers to enable people to protest against all candidates.
38 Degrees’ Chief Executive, David Babbs, told MPs that elections should be re-run with new candidates if “none of the Above” gets the largest number of votes.
He also believes there should be more US-style open primaries and the right to recall Members of Parliament. The Conservatives had previously experimented with these proposals, but have recently dropped most of their support for them citing cost and time as restrictive.
Mr Babbs told the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee: “I would probably put ‘none of the above’ within an election cycle, and the ‘right of recall’ outside of the election cycle together.
“There is a sense from a lot of our members that the way politics works, partly because of an electoral system where there are a lot of safe seats and safe council wards, and partly because of the culture and the way our members perceive there is a political class that is made up of a narrow section of the population, often these things are basically a stitch up. There is not much chance of them changing the outcome.
“They see ‘none of the above’ as a way of participating without be forced to fit into the categories that suit those people. In the same way they see recall as an opportunity to challenge an incumbent, and keep them on their toes.
“I live in Hackney, it’s always going to be Labour Councillors. My Councillors don’t live in my ward. They don’t respond to requests for assistance, they don’t seem very interested, but they are going to win.”
“I think it would be quite nice to send those people a wakeup call.”
38 Degrees claims to have two million members, and was setup as a memorial to the founder of the Body Shop, Anita Roddick.