Letter in the Times: Fair votes at local elections

Today the Sunday Times published our joint letter on local electoral reform, calling for local councils to be given the power to choose a fairer voting system for local elections. We've assembled support from across the political spectrum, including three party leaders and figures from each major party, as well as strong support from independents in local government.

Before you all rush out to the newsagent, here's what it said:

The government say it wants to hand power to local communities. It should start with the way we elect our councillors. Our electoral system leaves millions of voters across England without a voice on their local councils.

Today it is increasingly obvious that first past the post prevents councils reflecting the way local communities vote. At every election, it hands parties control of councils without a majority of the vote. At its worst, this creates “one-party states” where there is no effective opposition. Tens of thousands of people are denied even the opportunity to vote when their councillor is elected unopposed.

To see how our electoral system is holding local democracy back, look no further than Scotland. Since a proportional system was introduced at local elections in 2007, uncontested seats have vanished, voters have more than double the number of candidates to choose from for each seat, and more voters see their first choice elected.

Changing the voting system has rejuvenated local democracy in Scotland - so why can’t we try it here? George Osborne is happy to experiment with devolution deals, but if he is serious about empowering local communities, he should hand councils - and ultimately voters - the right to choose a fairer voting system.
— Sunday Times 08/05/16

Together we have sent a clear message on how to fix our broken local democracy. Now we need to make the government listen. Thousands of you have already joined our call for a fairer voting system for every election. Sign our petition today and let's make votes count at every election!

See below for a full list of signatories to the joint letter: 

Alexandra Runswick - Director, Unlock Democracy; Tim Farron MP - Leader, Liberal Democrats; Nigel Farage MEP - Leader, Ukip; Natalie Bennett - Leader, Green Party; Ben Bradshaw MP - (Lab) Exeter; Caroline Lucas MP - (Green) Brighton and Hove; Jonathan Reynolds MP - (Lab) Stalybridge and Hyde; Cllr Marianne Overton MBE - LGA Independent Group Leader; Cllr Richard Bearman - Chair, Association of Green Councillors; Cllr Clare Hudson - Chair, Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors; Willie Bain - Labour Campaign for Electoral Reform; John Strafford - Conservative Action for Electoral Reform; Lord Balfe - President, Cambridge Conservatives; Klina Jordan, Joe Sousek & Owen Winter - Make Votes Matter; Cllr Alan Graves - Derby Council; Cllr Alan Oliver - Hart Council; Cllr Alan Seldon - Herefordshire Council; Cllr Allan Terry - Kent Council; Cllr Andrew Cooper - Kirklees Council; Cllr Andy D'Agorne - York Council; Cllr Andy Hadley - Poole Council; Cllr Ann Rapnik - W Sussex Council; Cllr Anne McCaffrey - Conwy Council; Cllr Anthony Taylor - Neath Port Talbot Council; Cllr Arnold Wooley - Flintshire Council; Cllr Ashley Baxter - South Kesteven Council; Cllr Barbara Light - Uttlesford Council; Cllr Barry Robbins - St Edmundsbury Council; Cllr Ben Glayzer - Dover Council; Cllr Bill Mountford - Suffolk Council; Cllr Caroline Russell - Islington Council; Cllr Charles Greaves - Kirklees Council; Cllr Chris Ash - Peterborough Council; Cllr Colin Mann - Caerphilly Councill; Cllr Colin Ross - Sheffield Council; Cllr Daniella Radice - Bristol Council; Cllr Darren Hayday - Buckinghamshire Council; Cllr David Dews - Wakefield Council; Cllr David Durant - Havering Council; Cllr David Gibson - Brighton & Hove Council; Cllr David Pollitt - Wiltshire Council; Cllr David Summers - Herefordshire Council; Cllr Dean Perks - Dudley Council; Cllr Derek Hackett - Suffolk Council; Cllr Dick Page - Brighton & Hove Council; Cllr Douglas Oliver - Rother Council; Cllr Edward Thomas - Carmarthenshire Council; Cllr Ernest Mallett - Surrey Council; Cllr Felicity Cunningham - South Kesteven Council; Cllr Felicity Norman - Herefordshire Council; Cllr Fi Hance - Bristol Council; Cllr Frances Fox - Peterborough Council; Cllr Geoff Patmore - Adur Council; Cllr Gillian Corr - Stockton Council; Cllr Gillian Ford - Havering Council; Cllr Graham Williamson - Havering Council; Cllr Jacqi Hodgson - South Hams Council; Cllr James Abbott - Essex Council; Cllr James Cairns - NE Lincolnshire Council; Cllr Janet Abbott - Christchurch Council; Cllr Jefferson Tildesley - Bridgend Council; Cllr Jenny Bartlett - Herefordshire Council; Cllr Jim Ellis - Wigan Council; Cllr Joan Sanger - Bassetlaw Council; Cllr John Bennison - Hampshire Council; Cllr John Green - South Hams Council; Cllr John Hipkin - Cambridgeshire Council; Cllr John Matthissen - Mid Suffolk Council; Cllr John Mills - Lichfield Council (Ukip); Cllr John Townend - Thanet Council; Cllr John Whitby - Peterborough Council; Cllr Jonathan Carr - Bath & NE Somerset Council; Cllr Jonathan Chilvers - Warwickshire Council; Cllr Jonathan Edmunds - Stroud Council; Cllr Julia Wakelam - St Edmundsbury Council; Cllr Keith Gilbert - Breckland Council; Cllr Keith Kondakor - Warwickshire Council; Cllr Lawrence Brown - Liverpool Council; Cllr Leo Littman - Brighton & Hove Council; Cllr Les Gamester - Thurrock Council (Ukip); Cllr Lesley Grahame - Norwich Council; Cllr Lin Patterson - Bath & NE Somerset Council; Cllr Linda Allport-Hodge - Basildon Council; Cllr Linda Curran - Richmondshire Council; Cllr Louisa Greenbaum - Brighton & Hove Council; Cllr Loveday Jenkin - Cornwall Council; Cllr Luisa Hilliard - Isle of Wight Council; Cllr Mark Ereira-Guyer - Suffolk Council; Cllr Mark Jenkinson - Allerdale Council; Cllr Mark Wilson - Solihull Council; Cllr Martin Fodor - Bristol Council; Cllr Martin Love - Bradford Council; Cllr Michael Mason - Cambridgeshire Council; Cllr Mike Baldock - Kent Council; Cllr Mike Edmunds - North Devon Council; Cllr Mike Rigby - Somerset Council; Cllr Nigel Pearson - Somerset Council; Cllr Pat Cleary - Wirral Council; Cllr Patrick Bergin - Gosport Council; Cllr Paul Bullen - Cambridgeshire Council (Ukip); Cllr Pete Foley - Bridgend Council; Cllr Peter Harman - Kent Council; Cllr Peter Olliman - Basildon Council; Cllr Phélim MacCafferty - Brighton & Hove Council; Cllr Phil Davis - Birmingham Council; Cllr Phil Edwards - Conwy Council; Cllr Phil Jordan - Isle of Wight Council; Cllr Philip Garrett - Sandwell Council; Cllr Richard Everett - Tendring Council; Cllr Richard Leppington - Gloucestershire Council; Cllr Rob Telford - Bristol Council; Cllr Robert Murphy - Sheffield Council; Cllr Robert Sears-Piccavey - Ashfield Council; Cllr Rod Butler - Epping Council; Cllr Ron Hurrell - Castlepoint Council; Cllr Roy Freshwater - Medway Council (Ukip); Cllr Russell Cherry - Thurrock Council (Ukip); Cllr Sandra James - W Sussex Council; Cllr Scott Ainslie - Lambeth Council; Cllr Seb Berry - Chiltern Council; Cllr Sid Walker - Mansfield Council; Cllr Simon Barnes - Lewes Council; Cllr Simon Bull - Bournemouth Council; Cllr Simon Grover - St Albans Council; Cllr Simon Pickering - Stroud Council; Cllr Steph McWilliam - Cornwall Council; Cllr Stephen Harness - NE Lincolnshire Council; Cllr Steve Palmer - Lincolnshire Council; Cllr Steven Collela - Bromsgrove Council; Cllr Stuart Earl - Rother Council; Cllr Susan Murray - Lewes Council; Cllr Terry Hayward - Huntingdonshire Council; Cllr Tom Druitt - Brighton & Hove Council; Cllr Tom Hunter-Watts - Aylesbury Vale Council; Cllr Tony Dempster - Devon Council; Cllr Tony Mansi - Rother Council; Cllr Valerie Ranger - East Devon Council; Cllr Victoria Wheeler - Surrey Heath Council; Cllr Will Duckworth - Dudley Council; Cllr Graham Whitham - Sutton Council; Cllr John Pritchard - High Peak Council; Cllr Paul Clapp - Cambridgeshire Council; Cllr David Wilson - Allerdale Council; Cllr Tom Crone - Liverpool Council; Cllr Gina Dowding - Lancashire Council; Cllr Martin Whybrow - Kent Council