Richmondshire councillors to write to new MP urging him to consider proportional representation

Richmondshire District Council has called on the incoming prime minister to consider proportional representation (PR) for all elections.

The authority has voted to write to the government calling for a change “in our outdated electoral laws” to enable a voting system in which the share of seats a party wins matches the share of votes it receives to be used for general, local and mayoral elections.

The move, endorsed by a majority of elected representatives at a full meeting of the authority, comes two years after Mr Sunak was among a majority of MPs who voted against introducing a system of PR for the election of members of the House of Commons.

The decision of the council, which has been run by a coalition since 2019, also comes just three weeks after Labour members backing calls to change the voting system for general elections and including a commitment to introduce PR in its next manifesto.

However, the party’s leader, Sir Keir Starmer ,has said electoral reform is not a priority and the policy is not expected to be in the manifesto.

In May’s North Yorkshire County Council election, the Conservatives secured control of the authority with a one-seat majority with 47 seats, while the Liberal Democrat and Liberal group and Independent candidates both won 13 divisions, Labour 12 and Green five seats.

Introducing a notice of motion, Councillor Good said while the district authority was “about to go out of existence” as part of local government reorganisation, it was important to highlight that all the major political parties, with the exception of the Conservatives, had shown support for a form of proportional representation.

Coun Good said the first past the post (FPTP) electoral system “originated when land-owning aristocrats dominated parliament and voting was restricted to property-owning men”.

His motion stated: “In Europe, only the UK and authoritarian Belarus still use archaic single-round FPTP for general elections.

“Meanwhile, internationally, PR is used to elect parliaments in more than 80 countries. Those countries tend to be more equal, freer and greener.

“PR ensures all votes count, have equal value, and those seats won match votes cast. Under PR, MPs and Parliaments better reflect the age, gender and protected characteristics of local communities and the nation. MPs better reflecting their communities leads to improved decision-making, wider participation and increased levels of ownership of decisions taken.”

He highlighted how PR was already used to elect the parliaments and assemblies of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and claimed its introduction would also end minority rule

After councillors were told in 2019, 43.6 per cent of the vote produced a government with 56.2 per cent of the seats and 100 per cent of the power, there was no debate as members agreed to call for change in the electoral system.

1 Comment

  1. The Tory Party would not have retained overall control of North Yorkshire County Council if Proportional Representation been in place.
    Blair would have been unable to launch the invasion of Iraq, Cameron would not have been able to impose austerity, the disastrous Brexit & Johnson government would not have happened with PR.

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