Letter: Electoral reform

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Sir: Whilst many people would favour a system of proportional representation, this idea does presuppose that all candidates for a party tend to be identical in viewpoint. If reports of the current party conferences are to be believed, this is clearly incorrect.

The party list system of PR would, as you suggest in your leading article (6 October), favour party placemen and would not give the electors a better choice; some sort of alternative vote system would. Any party would find it advantageous to put forward candidates with a range of perspectives and let the people decide between them in order of preference. (This would perhaps have been a better way of increasing the number of women candidates in the last election without the controversy over women-only short lists.) I expect that many voters would want to give all of their top placings to the party they have traditionally supported and thus there would be no "splitting" of party voting patterns. Others who might not have any particular party loyalty could select those candidates they considered best able to reflect their views irrespective of party label.