Letter: PR: voters or rubber stamps?

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The Independent Online
PR: voters or rubber stamps?

Sir: The Home Secretary, Jack Straw, has announced that "time will be found for legislation this session which will allow the next European Elections to be held using a system of PR."

This is to be welcomed as a positive step, giving the British electorate a greater say. The details of the system are yet to be announced; what is now important is whether the voter is going to be given a choice between candidates of a party or is simply going to be asked to rubber-stamp a closed party list.

The Government has a great opportunity to live up to its language about openness, pluralism and new politics. They can do this by ensuring that the final say over who is elected for a political party rests not with the party, but with the electorate, where it belongs.

There are a number of ways this can be achieved, but the best and most cost-effective would be to extend the proportional system (STV) already used in Northern Ireland for elections to the European Parliament to the rest of the United Kingdom. This would give voters a true choice between candidates and parties.

PETER FACEY

Development Officer

Electoral Reform Society

London SE1

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