First Past the Post

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    What Labour must do to win in 2020: an electoral reform pact

What Labour must do to win in 2020: an electoral reform pact

Nat le Roux argues that a one-off electoral reform pact between Labour and some or all of the minor parties in 2020, with a common manifesto commitment to introduce a new voting system, would likely result in a broad-left coalition government. Otherwise Labour may spend a generation in opposition.

The political commentariat comprehensively failed to predict either the Conservative victory […]

What would the election look like under PR?

The further fragmentation of the UK’s party system in 2015 is likely to lead to the most disproportionate outcome of any election in the post-war era. In this post, Jack Blumenau and Simon Hix, along with the team from, ask what the House of Commons might look like if the election were held under a more proportionate voting […]

Electoral system dynamics are fundamental to understanding why comparisons between the FDP and the Liberal Democrats are ultimately somewhat misguided

The recent German elections saw the demise of the FDP, the junior coalition partner whose support had plummeted while serving in government. This has prompted comparisons with the situation in which the Liberal Democrats find themselves. However, Adam Evans writes that, because the two parties operate in radically divergent electoral arenas, there are limits to how far one can take these comparisons […]

In Britain’s first past the post electoral system, some votes are worth 22 times more than others

Britain’s electoral landscape is dominated by safe seats, with very little competition for votes taking place within them. New research, presented here by Chris Terry of the Electoral Reform society, shows the enormous differences between the ‘cost’ of votes in different constituencies, calling into question the premise that all votes are equal. This article was originally published on the Democratic Audit blog. A […]

The LSE’s simple guide to UK voting systems

The UK uses a wide range of voting systems to elect MPs; MEPs in the European Parliament; members of the devolved parliaments or assemblies in Scotland, Wales and London; councillors in local authorities; and the London Mayor, other city mayors and police commissioners in England. Here Patrick Dunleavy, Tony Travers, and Chris Gilson offer the definitive simple guide to all […]

In 2005 not a single MP was returned with active majority support amongst their local citizens. The UK’s ‘First Past the Post’ voting system no longer works – it is the worst of both worlds

The UK’s mediaeval way of counting votes in elections has outlived its usefulness for modern times and modern politics. Guy Lodge and Glenn Gottfried show that it is very reliant on the results in relatively few marginal seats and it produces volatile and highly disproportionate outcomes, treating many parties unfairly. The system now creates unrepresentative parliaments, and by ‘wasting’ millions […]

The Liberal Democrats have fallen in the polls and are facing the brunt of the public’s ire over the Coalition’s policies. Can we look to New Zealand as an example of what might be in store for the coalition?

Recent weeks have seen large scale student protests over the Liberal Democrats’ ‘betrayal’ over tuition fees, and Nick Clegg’s party is now seen by some as the scapegoat of the coalition. While coalition style-politics are relatively new in Britain, according to Chris Gilson, New Zealand can offer some important lessons in how coalition governments might continue – or end […]

How unfair or disproportionate is the UK’s voting system for general elections?

Posted by Patrick Dunleavy and Chris Gilson

One possible explanation of declining voter turnout in recent UK elections, and of the movement for voters to support smaller parties, is that voters are unhappy with the unfairness or disproportionality of the British voting system at general elections. The UK has seen historically high levels of disproportionality in how votes […]