Letter: Distortions under a supplementary vote system

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Sir: The Plant Commission's unfortunate preference for the supplementary vote as an electoral system for the United Kingdom presages a rejection of any mode of proportional representation by the Labour Party.

The party has never at any stage of its existence actually obtained a majority of the votes cast in an election. It is clear that until there is acceptance by that party that it can only justly participate in government as part of a coalition, it has no reason to abandon its allegiance to systems of election that are deliberately distortive of the popular vote.

The supplementary vote is such a distortive system. As well as the inadequacies highlighted by your article (21 April), its proponent, Dale Campbell-Savours, has forgotten (or has not pointed out) that many people vote either Labour or Conservative only because they 'don't want to let the other side in'.

SV will allow them to vote Liberal Democrat as their first choice, safe in the knowledge that their second choice may still count if their first does not. SV is likely to result, over the course of one or two elections, in a distortion in favour of the Liberal Democrats; who have at least promised a genuine proportional system.

In the meantime, while the Labour Party clings to the remote hope that its number may come up in the next electoral lottery, Rome burns.

Yours faithfully,


Twickenham, Middlesex

21 April