Electoral reform is never going to be a ‘priority’ for the Labour Party

Pressure is growing for Labour to support proportional representation. John Rentoul argues that the party risks repeating past mistakes

Thursday 08 April 2021 17:55
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<p>Does Labour really want to share power in the House of Commons?</p>

Does Labour really want to share power in the House of Commons?

I don’t know whether Keir Starmer ought to be pleased that Momentum is obsessed with electoral reform because the issue distracts them from advocating policies that are even more likely to put voters off, or dismayed because it shows how far Labour members are from winning.

His predecessor’s fan club has balloted its members to ask them which policies it should promote at Labour’s annual conference in Brighton in September, and in second place came a motion for proportional representation. Arrange the words religion, language, socialism, priorities and Nye Bevan in any order you like, and they don’t add up to proportional representation.

Where to start with what a bad idea this is? Let us start by assuming for the purposes of argument that proportional representation is a really good idea – or, at least, that it is democratic and right. The first thing to notice about it is that it is not going to happen unless a government legislates for it.

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