Letter: Snags of Hansard voting system

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The Independent Online
Sir: While it is true, as stated by Miles Hudson (letter, 18 November), that the additional MPs selected under the Hansard Report system would not be placemen nominated by their political parties, there are other consequential problems.

The intention is that they should serve their party's voters regionally or nationally. However, they will be their party's best loser in a single- member constituency and will clearly have a particular interest in cultivating the voters of that constituency.

It was the high percentage vote in that constituency which helped elect them. Some constituencies might find themselves with three MPs if a minor party candidate polled well there.

There are already reports that the additional members in New Zealand are taking a much closer interest in the single-member constituencies where they stood but were defeated, even though the allocation is not done on the basis of best losers, but by a national list.

In any case the additional member system does not correct the other defects of the single-member system.

If the voters are to have a choice of candidate within the party of their choice, be it according to age, gender, left wing, right wing, ethnicity or religious confession and the power to replace incumbent members of their party found wanting, it is necessary to elect more than one MP to represent a constituency, as noted in your leader of the 11 November.

E M SYDDIQUE

Chief Executive

Electoral Reform Society

London SE1

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