John Healey MP: Vote reform would benefit only BNP, Ukip and Lib Dems

Share
Related Topics

As we move closer to referendum day on 5 May, the momentum for a "No" vote is gathering pace. Some are happy with the voting system we have. Others do want a change but see the proposed Alternative Vote (AV) as a step backwards. Others think the whole thing is a waste of time and money.

The reason the number of Labour MPs in favour of a "No" vote runs into three figures is because we haven't been persuaded that AV is an upgrade to the voting system. The arguments just don't stack up.

A referendum on AV should be a long way down our political priorities. David Cameron knew he had to offer Nick Clegg something to get a coalition deal and so here we are, being asked to vote for an electoral system that could produce results less fair and proportional than the one we have now.

Our democracy has been built on one person, one vote. Under AV people who back the likes of the BNP and Ukip would have several bites of the cherry, transferring their votes between candidates. People who back mainstream candidates would have their voices heard just once. We could expect more votes (or first preferences) going to fringe candidates and we could also witness the unedifying prospect of the major parties chasing transfers from racist, bigoted, eccentric and single-issue candidates.

AV has been rejected the world over, except for in three countries. More often than not, it would produce a hung House of Commons. The people would lose their right to throw one government out and put another in. They would be handing this power to Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats – the kingmakers in any hung parliament.

Immediately after an election the parties would be scrambling to do coalition deals. They would feel free to jettison policies that had been firm pledges only a week earlier. This isn't the new type of politics people have been calling for. They want politics that treats them with respect, not as fools.

I want to see Labour back in government, the people to have a fair chance at electing Labour and to see politics done in a better way. The last thing we should do is throw away what works in favour of an unfair, perverse electoral system. Politicians should be seeking the trust of voters, not encouraging them to move the goalposts.

John Healey is the Labour MP for Wentworth and Dearne, and shadow Secretary of State for Health

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: In House Counsel - Contracts

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading supplier of compliance software a...

Recruitment Genius: Associate System Engineer

£24000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Associate System Engineer r...

Recruitment Genius: Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Executive Assistant is required to join a l...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - B2B, Corporate - City, London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Zoe Sugg, aka Zoella, with her boyfriend, fellow vlogger Alfie Deyes  

If children are obese then blame food manufacturers, not Zoella

Jane Merrick
Amos Yee arrives with his father at the State courts in Singapore on March 31  

Singapore's arrest of a 16-year-old YouTuber is all you need to know about Lee Kuan Yew's legacy

Noah Sin
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat