Hackney residents 'shine a light' for proportional representation

Make Votes Matter supporters gathered in Stoke Newington advocating for a change in the way we vote

Make Votes Matter supporters gathered in Stoke Newington advocating for a change in the way we vote - Credit: Make Votes Matter

Hackney residents gathered in Stoke Newington on Saturday (December 11) to make a stand against the UK's current voting system.

Organised by the local branch of cross-party campaign group Make Votes Matter, residents gathered to advocate for Proportional Representation (PR) for general elections at the Stoke Newington Growing Communities Farmers' Market. 

“We need PR because democracy needs to be as representative as possible to be effective," said Keith Hubbard, a Make Votes Matter supporter from Stamford Hill.   

Proportional Representation advocates met on Saturday at Stoke Newington Growing Communities Farmers' Market

Proportional Representation advocates met on Saturday at Stoke Newington Growing Communities Farmers' Market - Credit: Make Votes Matter

With PR, the distribution of parliamentary seats corresponds with the proportion of total votes cast for each party. If a party gains 40 per cent of the total votes, a proportional system would mean it gets 40pc of the seats. 

Britain currently uses a first past the post system, where the candidate who wins the most votes in each constituency wins a seat in parliament.

It can result in a party which holds the majority of seats in parliament despite having a much smaller share of the nation's votes. 

As part of a long-running campaign to change the way the British public votes Make Votes Matter members have been running street stalls, sending Christmas cards to MPs and lighting up PR campaign messages to "shine a light on PR" and demand change. 

Emma Knaggs, Grassroots Director at Make Votes Matter, said: “Our First Past the Post voting system means parliament does not reflect how the UK voted. The government has a landslide majority of seats, but this is despite the Conservatives receiving less than 44 per cent of the votes.”

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“We need to change to a system of proportional representation so votes count equally, and so governments represent the diversity of people and views in our communities and society. It’s absolutely critical to people’s participation and faith in democracy.”

Make Votes Matter supporters in Hackney in July 2021

The group has launched a petition to prevent the government from introducing more First Past the Post systems into UK elections - Credit: Make Votes Matter

The group has launched a petition this winter called Less Past the Post, Not more, to prevent more electoral systems, such as mayoral and Police and Crime Commissioner elections, from becoming First Past the Post. 

To sign the petition, which has more than 32,000 signatures, visit www.makevotesmatter.org.uk/petition-less-fptp-not-more?rq=petition

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