The Liberal Democrat manifesto was launched last week.
It renews our commitment to electoral reform – the section on ‘Fair Votes’ is reproduced below – though it was sadly not among the list of key policies in the headlines of ‘Jo Swinson’s Plan.’ We agree with other reformers that ‘electoral reform is dangerously absent from the campaign debates‘.
Bicentenary of STV
The first use of the Single Transferable Vote was on 17th December 1819, so the bicentenary will fall on the day when our new parliament assembles. If the election delivers no overall majority, what better occasion to demand a fairer voting system at last!
There will be a meeting at the Royal Statistical Society on 17th December, on ‘The quest for fairer voting.’ There will be talks by Klina Jordan of Make Votes Matter, Ian Simpson of the Electoral Reform Society, and our Chair, Denis Mollison.
Attendance is open to all, but you need to register.
Extract from Lib Dem 2019 Manifesto: ‘Fair Votes’
The current voting system is not working: it means that too many people do not have their voices heard. Liberal Democrats are the only party that realises that the system is broken and will change it so that it works for the future: Labour and Conservatives will not change the system that has always entrenched their privileged position. We understand that British politics needs to be reformed to make it more representative and empower citizens.
- Put an end to wasted votes, by introducing proportional representation through the Single Transferable Vote for electing MPs, and local councillors in England.
- Give 16- and 17-year olds the right to vote in elections and referendums.
- Extend the right to full participation in civic life, including the ability to stand for office or vote in UK referendums, Local Elections and General Elections, to all EU citizens who have lived in the UK for five years or more.
- Introduce a legal requirement for local authorities to inform citizens of the steps they must take to be successfully registered with far greater efforts in particular to register under-represented groups; and ensure that the UK has an automatic system of inclusion in elections.
- Enable all UK citizens living abroad to vote for MPs in separate overseas constituencies, and to participate in UK referendums.
- Scrap the plans to require voters to bring identification with them to vote.
- Reform the House of Lords with a proper democratic mandate.
- Enabling Parliament, rather than the Queen-in-Council, to approve when parliament is prorogued and for how long.
- Ensure that a new Prime Minister, and their programme for government, must win a confidence vote of MPs.
- Take a zero-tolerance approach to harassment and bullying in Westminster and legislate to empower constituents to recall MPs who commit sexual harassment.
- Legislate to allow all-BAME and all-LGBT+ shortlists.
- Bring into force Section 106 of the Equality Act 2010, requiring political parties to publish candidate diversity data.