Bizarre behaviour in House of Lords over AV vote!

The recent antics of Labour peers in the House of Lords over the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill have been bizarre to say the least! I thought that all-night sessions in Parliament to deliberately try and wreck legislation were a thing of the past but apparently not!

So what was all the fuss about? The commitment to hold a referendum on changing the voting system to AV was part of the Coalition agreement with the Lib Dems and the Labour Party supported AV in their manifesto. What they seem to be getting hot under the collar about is the proposal, tied in with AV, to equalise the size of Parliamentary constituencies. Under the current arrangements, there is an in-built bias in the system against the Conservatives which is largely due to the fact that ‘Labour’ constituencies are smaller than ‘Conservative’ ones. So, at the last General Election it took on average 33,000 votes to elect a Labour MP compared to 35,000 votes to elect a Conservative MP. (of course it takes even more on average to elect a Lib Dem MP but that is another story!). It would, therefore, seem to be fair to try and remedy this but Labour would lose out so they are doing their best to derail it.

The unfortunate side effect of this is that any significant delay would mean that the AV referendum could not be held on the same day as the Council elections – May 5th. In purely practical terms this means significantly greater costs – costs which will unfortunately fall on the council taxpayer.

Incidentally, my view is that holding the AV vote at the same time will not have a huge impact on the council result. Personally I am a strong supporter of our current first-past-the-post system for Parliamentary elections and so shall be pushing for a ‘no’ vote. Do we really want an electoral system where the candidate who comes in third place in the poll ends up as your MP?

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2 Responses to “Bizarre behaviour in House of Lords over AV vote!”


  1. 1 Clive January 24, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    “Do we really want an electoral system where the candidate who comes in third place in the poll ends up as your MP?”

    I invite you to cite me a single example of where that has happened under AV.

    Under FPTP you do, however, pretty regularly get instances of MPs elected with the support of less than 40% of the voters.

    • 2 marymears January 25, 2011 at 10:20 am

      Clive – that would be difficult as only 3 countries use AV! All electoral systems have their flaws but I think AV has the worst of all worlds.


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