A way through deadlock over electoral reform?

Deadlock has been reached over the Lib Dem’s sine qua non, electoral reform.  Labour’s proposal for AV doesn’t fit the bill, as John Curtice spells out.

(The Lib Dems) might win up to twice as many seats – 217 – as they would under the current system… Yet it would be Labour, with 238 seats, that would still be the largest party. The Conservatives, meanwhile, would be a poor third with just 163 seats. 

AV+ which adds a second vote from a party list  might even up the balance. Bu the Lib Dems favourite, our own STV, is anathema to the Tories, reports  keen observer of the British political scene, Iain Martin of the Wall St Journal.

(Cameron) would definitely struggle to get a referendum ( on PR) past the parliamentary party. Colleagues are very worried,” said a senior back-bencher A prominent peer described conceding a referendum on PR as “the end” for his party and for Labour, too. This is a view shared by Labour opponents of PR.Another senior Tory predicted that Cameron would lose a referendum on PR.

The Constitution Unit, always willing to help in the interests of democracy, offers a way through

There may be the beginnings of a deal with the Tories, starting with a boundary review, and including electoral reform in the process.The Tories are already committed to such a review, because of their policy to reduce the size of the House of Commons to 585. You also have a commitment to reduce the Commons, to 500. So despite the rhetorical gap, a deal may be possible here – but it would take time to implement.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London

  • Drumlin Rock

    Surely there is not much point in STV without multi seat constituencies, and on reduced numbers of MPs would make NI a 3 or 4 constituency region, it would ensure virtually everyone has an MP they can support to some extent, but break the local link, not sure if the price is worth paying.

  • listingloops

    The LibDems have always talked about reintroducing multimember constituencies to facilitate the use of STV. Their 2010 manifesto reinforces this while making the claim it can reduce parliament by 150 MPs – this would mean the constituencies would have to be considerably larger than expected

    Me thinks ATV+ would be slightly more suited – keeps the local link with MP’s while introducing a PR rump to better represent the actual votes on the ground.

  • Brian Walker

    Boundary revision and multimember constituencies follow. STV in both parts of Ireland shows that the constiuency link still flourishes.

  • Drumlin Rock

    We can persume we lose 2 seats, so would it make 4no 3 seaters and say 4 for an extended belfast?

  • slug

    I doubt if Tories would agree to multimember constituencies.