AV elections will be for fewer seats

The BBC website has a fascinating projection of what the NI election results might have been under the Alternative Vote for Westminster elections. The UK will vote on this system in a referendum some time next year. The exercise assumes voters would have behaved in roughly the same way of course.

The vast majority of Northern Ireland’s 18 MPs would still have been elected. The exception is the DUP’s William McCrea in South Antrim, who would certainly have lost his seat to UUP leader Sir Reg Empey, if the AV system had been used.

What this leaves out is that AV will be combined with a cut in the number of MPs by at least 100. This foreshadows a loss of at least 6 seats in NI, back to the old number of 12. The aim is to create fewer seats of roughly equal populations.

Try again Mr Whyte and give the unionists a fright.

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

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