I believe that Parliament needs to be representative of communities across Britain and to reflect different views and concerns. I know that there is widespread concern about the current First Past the Post System (FPTP), which is used to elect MPs, and that this has been heightened by the results of the recent General Election.
There are, of course, strengths and weaknesses to all voting systems. I appreciate, however, that there is a case to look in detail at our electoral system and that forms of proportional representation are already used in the devolved administrations across the UK, as well as in many local authority elections.
Apathy and cynicism about politics is widespread; I believe it is a crucial responsibility for government to address this. The Electoral Reform Society estimates that over 50% of parliamentary seats are ‘safe seats’. I understand why many feel that this is unacceptable. Every vote is valuable and everyone should be able to feel that their vote counts for something. Electoral reform can form part of an agenda to increase public engagement in politics and give them assurance that the system is fair and properly democratic.
At the last election I stood on a manifesto that pledged to introduce an elected Senate, give greater powers to the devolved administrations, overhaul voter registration, give backbench MPs a bigger say in policy-making, work to take the big money out of politics as well as giving 16 and 17-year-olds the vote. Working for a fairer politics will be central to my work in Parliament as your MP. While I do not explicitly advocate a particular alternative to FPTP (and there are many different systems to choose from), I would support any proposal that more accurately reflects the democratic result while still ensuring local accountability.