Big popular boost for Proportional Representation

By staff writers
25 Feb 2010

The Electoral Reform Society (ERS) has welcomed the news that Proportional Representation has topped the Power 2010 popular public poll of urgent reforms needed to fix Britain's "broken democracy".

The poll racked up over 100,000 voters from supporters across the country. Now people will be asked to pressurise candidates on at least three of the key concerns in the run-up to the next general election and 'Power Pledge' cards are being produced to hold prospective MPs to account.

The news comes as the government has endorsed a non-proportional reform, the Alternative Vote, amid uncertainty as to what will happen after the election and concern from those wanting real change that a more fundamental approach - the Single Transferable Vote (STV) - is needed.

The ERS chief executive, Dr Ken Ritchie, commented: “Power2010’s voters sent a clear signal about what they view as the single most important reform: proportional representation, the vote leader from day one."

He added: “It wasn’t pundits, think tankers or a cabal of MPs who decided this – but ordinary people who recognised that PR is the best medicine for a sick democracy. Opponents on both sides of the House of Commons should sit up and take note.

“Whatever position people take on the other pledges that were runners up in the Power2010 ballot, we must not allow candidates who ignore the groundswell for fair elections off the hook. A pick and mix approach to these pledges may let many of our MPs off the hook.

“Real reform of parliament is divisive. When parliamentarians had their chance to support a referendum on PR, not a single Conservative, and only three Labour MPs supported the amendment on the Single Transferable Vote. Our friends at Power do not want their pledge to end up a get out [of] jail free card for politicians too scared to make the changes our politics so desperately needs.

“Voters have been given a fantastic range of reforms to choose from. It is unwise now to let candidates duck the issue that came top of the poll," said the Electoral Reform Society chief.

According to Power 2010: “The next phase of the campaign will see voters asked to commit their support to a majority of the proposals – at least three – and then challenge every candidate at the next general election to support them too.”

Power2010’s final pledges are, in rank order:

1. Introduce a proportional voting system.

2. Scrap ID cards and roll back the database state.

3. Replace the House of Lords with an elected chamber.

4. Allow only English MPs to vote on English laws.

5. Draw up a written constitution.

To sign the Power Pledge and show your support visit: www.power2010.org.uk

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