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

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

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A luxury beauty house with a nu...

Recruitment Genius: Housekeepers - Immediate Start

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This company are currently recruiting new exp...

Recruitment Genius: Head Concierge

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...

Recruitment Genius: Content, SEO and PPC Executive

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: £12bn welfare spending cuts – more achievable in theory than in practice

John Rentoul
 

Clean energy should be our mission to the moon

Martin Rees
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral