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: UI / UX Designer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm are focussed on assis...

Recruitment Genius: General Processor

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: Our representatives must represent us

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
MP David Lammy would become the capital’s first black mayor if he won the 2016 Mayoral election  

Crime, punishment and morals: we’re entering a maze with no clear exit

Simon Kelner
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot