Elections Bill, MVM action day and much more...
By LDER executive
Elections Bill - the fight is still on
Thank you to everyone who has backed our anti-Elections Bill campaign by lobbying MPs and peers at key stages of the bill's passage through Parliament.
In this newsletter, as well as some upcoming news, we concentrate on:
What impact is our campaigning having?
What is the next important step for us to take?
Given the Tory Government's undemocratic majority, changing this bill was always going to be an uphill struggle. But our peers had a significant victory on Voter ID. Amendment 8 was passed (by 199 votes to 170) which expands the list of acceptable ID cards far beyond just photographic ID as proposed by the Tories. People could also use birth certificates, bank statements and Council tax demands. We do not know yet whether the Government will accept the amendment but it's important to recognise a win when we have one - motivates us all to keep going!
Less good news elsewhere. There was a very close vote in favour of expanding First Past The Post to include Mayoral and Police and Crime Commissioner elections. But here too is a lesson for us campaigners - the winning margin was just seven votes. This is deeply unfortunate - and clear proof that we need to keep up our lobbying efforts. Just a handful of votes can swing the result.
What's next? - Action to take*
The Lords will vote on proposals to weaken the Electoral Commission on April 25th. Therefore, please renew your efforts, by emailing peers (the same list as last time) from around April 20. (There may be further votes on April 27, but the key start date for this stage of voting is the 25th).
This time write advocating your opposition to moves which weaken the Commission and threaten its independence. At a time when we badly need to bolster our democratic institutions, the Government is again going aggressively in the opposite - and wrong - direction. Emphasise to the peers the crucial importance of being there to vote, as the results are so close.
Here again is the peers lobbying list, agreed earlier with our Lords' team. As before, please let us know any feedback you receive - and thanks for the intel you have sent us from previous efforts. It helps builds a full picture of the peers and their views.
Finally for now, here is an excellent overview of the Elections Bill - the status of its passage towards law and a reminder of its iniquities - by Liberal Democrat peer, Lord Chris Rennard.
* as well as our Lords team, our thanks go to colleagues and allies at Fair Vote UK, Unlock Democracy, Make Votes Matter and the Electoral Reform Society in helping us monitor and share this update.
Make Votes Matter National Action Day - June 11, 2022
There will be much more on this to come - but for now keep your calendar free for this important day of grass roots action to boost public awareness and support for the need for fair, equal votes. Watch this space - we're aiming to hold a members and supporters zoom meeting to give this the focus and profile it deserves.
Our March Conference fringe meeting recordings are now on our website:
Linking PR to what really matters
With LDER President Wendy Chamberlain MP, Wera Hobhouse MP, Hina Bokhari, London Assembly member, Josh Babarinde and Monica Harding
The Route to Proportional Representation (co-hosted with Unlock Democracy)
With Tom Brake, Lord William Wallace, Willie Rennie and Laura Parker (Labour for a New Democracy)
Local government elections - one party states or proportionality?
Here is an excellent article by exec member Richard Wood, highlighting the democratic plight of English and Welsh local government, in sharp contrast to Scotland, where PR/single transferable vote has been used since 2007.
And - an electoral reform quiz!
Please send to firstname.lastname@example.org any questions that might be suitable for a quiz that exec member Peter Hirst is organising. They should be concerning electoral reform, not easy to answer using search engines and also able to be checked. Peter is compiling a list and the executive will decide later in the year on ten to be circulated to members.. No prizes unfortunately - beyond the glow of satisfaction at having your contribution included in the final selection!