26 May 2017

Diversity deserts: 7.5m people can’t vote for a woman this election

There’s good news and bad news when it comes to women’s representation this election. The good news is this: analysis by the Press Association suggests a record number of women could be elected on June 8 th , meaning (nearly) a third of MPs will be women. The bad news? The progress is glacial – and in some cases we’re going backwards. While any rise in women MPs is welcome, the projected result […]
18 Nov 2016

Amid a shrinking Commons, let's stand up for the backbencher

This article was first published on Politics.co.uk A steady rise in independent-minded MPs has been a positive feature of Westminster life in recent years. Parliament has always had its share of mavericks and their ranks have been refreshed by backbenchers who entered the Commons in 2015. This Parliament Week is a time to celebrate them. But this year in particular, it’s a time to stick up for […]
23 Jul 2015

Re-location, re-location, re-location: where should Parliament move to?

As Parliament breaks for the summer recess this week, there’s a bit of time to think about some non-legislative stuff for a change. One pretty pressing issue bubbling underneath is this: with the Palace of Westminster crumbling , where should our MPs and Lords go? Before you crack out the jokes (‘into the sea’, ‘as far away as possible’ etc. etc.) it’s a serious question. Westminster could soon […]
23 Feb 2015

Commit, don't cop out

Today saw the broadcasters agree – by lot – who would host each of the three upcoming televised General Election debates. It’s a welcome development in what has been a fairly chaotic few months for them, as they seek agreement on who will be on the platform, when to host them, who will moderate them, etc. But finally we have some closure. Or do we? Sadly the parties’ commitment to the debates […]
21 Nov 2014

Reckless choices?

After Clacton, comes Rochester and Strood. At the start of the campaign, the Conservatives felt they stood a good chance of winning this second by-election caused by a Conservative MP defecting to UKIP. In comparison to Clacton, it should have been a much easier ride. Clacton is the most demographically friendly seat to UKIP in the country. Douglas Carswell is a high-profile local MP with a well- […]
12 Mar 2013

Reviving the Health of Our Democracy

Political and constitutional reform has had a tough time of late but going into the next General Election has never been so important. Too often shoved into the ‘too difficult’ box, reform of our democratic institutions has taken second place to the immediate social and economic issues that are somehow seen as separate from the functioning of our democracy. But political reform cannot be divorced […]
19 May 2010

The New Politics of Coalition Government

Here we find ourselves, trapped in the dreaded hung parliament scenario, and despite some nightmarish predictions from our tabloid fortune tellers— economic collapse , societal breakdown , nuclear apocalypse —things seem to be ticking along okay. Since the result became clear, the leaderships of all three major parties acted in uncommonly diplomatic fashion to reach a workable outcome. While […]
10 May 2010

The Election that might have been

Britain’s new political map is simple. Just take a look . We have a blue south, a red north, and a few spots of yellow in between. But it’s not a map most voters would recognise as legitimate after last week's broken election. Whole counties and cities are now the personal property of one party. Once again First-Past-the-Post has generated results that stretch the idea of ‘representative’ […]
3 May 2010

Where to with coalitions?

Talk is now firmly on coalition building. But how do you start? The idea that the party with most votes has the ‘strongest’ mandate must be treated with caution as our voting system gives a very distorted picture. This is not a national contest for a national leader. This is a series of 650 local contests for local representatives, under a blunt winner takes all system. That’s why both main […]
22 Apr 2010

Gambling on change

Which site would you go to first when you log in of a morning to see how the parties are faring? It might help to limit the field to just two: UK Polling Report and Politcal Betting . Polling or Gambling? Which discipline is it to be? Well national polls have to be taken with a few dozen pinches of salt because of the system. The popular vote after all is meaningless thanks to First-Past-the-Post […]