Britain’s voting system is “awful” and ought to be changed in order to bring more voices into British politics, Labour MP Chuka Umunna has said. The former shadow business secretary made his remarks at a fringe event at the Labour Party conference, taking place in Brighton this week.
Addressing the event, hosted by the think-tank Demos, Mr Umunna said “We should change our voting system, I think our voting system is awful,” the Independent has reported.
“I think we’d have a much better open and free-flowing politics if we had a different electoral system which meant that we had more parties and lots of different voices were brought to the table in a way they’re not at the moment.”
Mr Umunna told the audience that he would have liked to have seen the referendum on introducing the Alternative Vote system result the introduction of that system, although he accepted the result. The British people rejected Alternative Vote by two to one at the ballot box.
Following the results of this year’s General Election in May, there have been renewed calls for the introduction of a system of proportional representation, to better reflect the number of votes a party receives in the political makeup of a Parliament.
Proportional representation generally benefits smaller parties with a geographically widespread base, which might gain a significant number of votes across the country, but not come out in first place in any one constituency.
In May, the UK Independence Party (UKIP) took 12.6 per cent of the vote overall but secured only one MP. By contrast, the Liberal Democrats, who tend to build up strong local support, won 7.9 per cent of the vote but have eight MPs in Parliament.
Spectacularly, the Scottish National Party won 4.7 per cent of the national vote, but that was enough to deliver them 56 seats across Scotland.
At the Ukip conference in Doncaster over the weekend the party’s leader Nigel Farage told his audience: “If you’d said Ukip would get 4 million votes in a British general election, frankly, I would have bitten your arm off and I think we can hold our heads high and be proud of what we achieved.
“The fact that it only led to one seat in Westminster says that the system is crying out [for change] and that we need electoral reform in Britain, although I suspect, at the moment, we should not hold our breath.”