Letter: Vote for Jenkins

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The Independent Culture
Sir: I welcome the importance TheIndependent has placed on debate about how we vote for our MPs. I was therefore glad to see two pro-reformers, Ken Livingstone ("A perfect blueprint for splitting the Labour Party", 4 November) and Martin Linton (Right of Reply, 5 November), contributing to that debate.

However, Ken's dislike for Alternative Vote (AV) may have led him to ignore the top-ups of MPs in the AV-Plus system that would significantly correct the imbalances he dislikes, such as disproportionality and geographical polarisation, inherent in first-past-the-post (FPTP) or AV alone.

Unlike Ken, I do not believe that adoption of AV-Plus would cause the Labour Party to split. The fact that AV-Plus enables single parties to control the House of Commons, albeit without a landslide majority, encourages the party to stay together.

AV-Plus is in effect the only show in town. If we fail to change to the new system, we will not get another chance. I hope Ken, on reflection, will join the campaign for a much fairer voting system.

We must, as politicians, remember that we do not, and should not, live in a society where politicians do things for people, not with them. That is why we will have a referendum on whether to embrace change. It is for the people of this country, not the politicians, to have the final say and that is where the most important debate of all will take place.


(Birmingham Northfield, Lab)

Chair, All-Party Group on Electoral Reform

House of Commons