Letter: Bristol's lesson on voting reform

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The Independent Online
Sir: Ian Onions' report on Bristol's election (4 April) should stimulate discussion about electoral reform after the general election.

First, he tells us that the only Bristol result that has not already been decided by the Boundary Commission is Bristol West. Then he illustrates the confusion among anti-Tory voters, a clear majority of the constituency, as to how to vote to remove their Conservative MP.

His interviews show that people's impressions about which party can beat the Tories depend on where they live and what party their local councillors are. This is national as well as a local problem. Since first-past-the- post is a game that only two contenders can play, three-way marginals are a real problem for the voters.

Only the voting system stands between William Waldegrave and defeat. Not surprisingly, he is the only candidate standing on a platform to keep the status quo.

STAN RICHARDS

Bristol

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