General Election

19 May 2017

The Conservatives just pledged to take our democracy back decades

Yesterday Theresa May launched the Conservatives’ manifesto. There was a lot of talk about ‘moving forwards’. But one pledge stuck out as doing the exact opposite. Theresa May has pledged to impose (or in the manifesto’s words , ‘extend’) First Past the Post for Mayoral, Police and Crime Commissioner elections, and – though still to be confirmed – the London Assembly . We won’t mince our words […]
8 May 2017

‘Progressive alliances’ shouldn’t be necessary: they’re product of a broken voting system

First published in the New Statesman There’s a lot of talk about June 8 th being the ‘tactical voting’ election. This past couple of weeks we’ve seen the latest symptom: parties doing the tactical voting on behalf of the electorate – weeks before polling day. ‘Holding your nose’ has long been a feature under Westminster’s broken first past the post system – opting for the ‘lesser evil’ to stop […]
16 Mar 2017

Local spending matters when votes aren't equal

Today we have seen the consequences of a violation of the rules on campaign spending, one facet of the way political parties are funded. Yet the Electoral Commission’s fine of the Conservative party for breaching reporting rules on party spending highlights bigger issues in our political system. Campaign spending rules exist for a key reason. Britain’s first past the post electoral system rewards […]
29 Mar 2016

The Irish election: How PR can keep the local link

The General Election in Ireland last month was an earthquake in Irish politics. Ireland now has a vastly more diverse political landscape, with the results a reflection of a major decline in party loyalties - and some big changes to politics more generally – something that is happening across much of Europe. With voters supporting an ever wider range of parties – as well as independents - it’s […]
1 Jun 2015

A system in crisis

It’s official: this election was the most disproportionate in UK history. We’ve just released our new report on the May 7th General Election, 'A Voting System in Crisis'. And it makes for worrying reading for fans of democracy. The report , launched today, has already hit the headlines, with ERS Chief Executive Katie Ghose appearing on BBC Breakfast, the Today programme, Daily Politics, Radio 5 […]
Nail in the coffin
11 May 2015

Nail in the Coffin

Well, it’s all over. All the months of campaigning have resulted in an election outcome which few predicted. It was a good night for the bookies, and a bad night for the pollsters – but it was an even worse night for our broken voting system. Because one thing is clear: Thursday was the nail in the coffin for First Past the Post. Our analysis has shown something that will come as little surprise […]
6 May 2015

So who gets to be Prime Minister?

In 2011 the Fixed Term Parliaments Act was passed. Setting aside its merits or demerits, the politics behind its introduction and the decision to fix the terms at five years, it is a piece of legislation whose true impact will only be known after May 7th and analysis of which indicates some disagreement as to its effect. What complicates this short piece of legislation still further is that it […]
5 May 2015

A personal history of First Past the Post 1950 – 2010

This blog is a guest piece by one of our members, Alan Errock. I’m now 86 and have voted in election after election, but my vote has seldom counted towards the result. Here is my history of a life under First Past the Post. I was 21 years old (the voting age at the time) in March 1950 and was living in my parents ' home in Nottinghamshire at that time. I completed a degree in Physics with […]
29 Apr 2015

What’s happening in Scotland?

If the polls are to be believed, next Thursday Scotland will vote to send more SNP MPs to the House of Commons than ever before. Why is what used to be a stable voting pattern seeing such a massive change? Since devolution, or rather since 2003 when they got to grips with voting in the devolved election, Scottish voters have behaved differently when voting for Westminster than for Holyrood. […]
20 Apr 2015

Taking your time

Some things can be done in a hurry, but forming a Government certainly shouldn't be one of them. In our recent report, Working Together , we set out the guidelines for forming power-sharing arrangements based on the experience of successful coalition and minority governments in Scotland, Wales and across the world. In 2010, the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives attempted to plan five years of […]