The Labour Party in Blackpool: Opinion divided on merits of election reform
Friday 02 October 1992
The party's Plant commission is due to report on the issue in the spring, but the damage some believe Labour suffered at the general election from raising it has hardened opposition.
However, John Kemp, from Dundee West, said Labour had obtained a working majority only twice in 90 years of elections. 'The simple fact is that the present electoral system has for almost a century marginalised the Labour Party. We can no longer continue in support of an unfair electoral system on the grounds that we might one day benefit from that unfairness.'
Jeff Rooker, chairman of the Labour Campaign for Electoral Reform and a member of Plant, said Labour had won more votes last April in 16 shire counties where no Labour MP was elected than it had in 11 cities which returned 54 Labour MPs. And that, he said, was before Boundary Commission changes would give the Conservatives another 12 to 20 seats next time. The party had to give those Labour voters a voice.
Jean Lord, from Littleborough and Saddleworth, said: 'I didn't join the Labour Party to be fair to Liberals. I joined to get a Labour government.' Proportional representation would have given Labour fewer seats last April and control of fewer councils.
Margaret Beckett, the party's deputy leader, hinted at her own strong personal opposition to changing the voting system by saying the Plant commission had already made clear that there was 'no one perfect, correct, theoretically supreme voting system'.
Earlier, Tony Blair, shadow Home Secretary, had told the conference: 'It is now time that we consider the incorporation into British law of the European Convention on Human Rights as the first step to a new Bill of Rights for Britain.'
Mr Blair's backing for the concept of entrenched individual rights departs from traditional Labour suspicion of a Bill of Rights because of the danger that a broadly worded document would be open to manipulation by judges.
Mrs Beckett said the reform was still subject to debate within the party and the conference agreed not to vote on the issue.
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 This is what the photographer has to say about the picture of a weasel riding a woodpecker
- 3 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 Average penis size revealed: Scientists attempt to find what is 'normal' to reassure concerned men
Bill Clinton portrait features Monica Lewinsky reference, artist admits
Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
Pornhub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
£16000 - £46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£9 - £13 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a s...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...
£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...