2015 Policy Motion: Voting and Parliamentary Reform

Final text as amended:

Proposer: Peter Hirst
Seconder: Jeremey Peck

Unlock Democracy Notes:  
1. In the 2015 General Election the Conservative party gained 11.3 million votes (ie 37% of the votes cast but only 24% of the electorate) yet they are the governing party with 331 (ie 51%) of the 650 seats in the House of Commons. a comparison of the votes cast with the seats awarded to other popular parties shows a substantial lack of representation in the House of Commons for millions of voters. 

For example, UKIP - 3.9 million votes - 1 seat; Green Party 1.2 million votes - 1 seat. 
Thus, the Conservative Party received less than 3 times as many votes as UKIP but was rewarded with 331 times as many seats in the House of Commons.

2. The situation in the House of Lords is even worse. There are some 820 Peers, ALL of whom are unelected. All major Parliamentary parties committed themselves to reform of the House of Lords 100 years ago and it was part of the coalition agreement in 2010. 

Unlock Democracy Believes:
That this makes a mockery of democracy.

Unlock Democracy Resolves:
1. To continue campaigning for reform of the voting system, working with other organisations where possible to bring about a voting system that is Proportional and therefore reflects more accurately the wishes of the British people.

2. To campaign for reform of the House of Lords, to a proportional level of representation. 

The motion, as amended, passed.


Original text:

Proposers: Tim Baynes and Ken Chambers
(Neither Tim Baynes or Ken Chambers were able to attend the AGM, so others proposed and seconded the motion)
Seconder: Peter Hirst

 Unlock Democracy Notes:  
1. In the 2015 General Election the Conservative party gained 11.3 million votes (ie 37% of the votes cast but only 24% of the electorate) yet they are the governing party with 331 (ie 51%) of the 650 seats in the House of Commons. Clearly it does not have a proper governing mandate from the people and a comparison of the votes cast with the seats awarded to other popular parties shows a very serious lack of representation in the House of Commons for millions of voters.

For example, UKIP - 3.9 million votes - 1 seat; Green Party 1.2 million votes - 1 seat. 
Thus, the Conservative Party received less than 3 times as many votes as UKIP but was rewarded with 331 times as many seats in the House of Commons.

2. The situation in the House of Lords is even worse. There are some 900 Peers, ALL of whom are unelected. All major Parliamentary parties committed themselves to reform of the House of Lords 100 years ago and it was part of the coalition agreement in 2010 that in future the composition of the Lords should reflect the numbers of votes received by the parties in the 2015 General Election. Despite that the Green Party has only 1 peer and UKIP have only 3.

Unlock Democracy Believes:
That this makes a mockery of democracy.

Unlock Democracy Resolves
1. To adopt the urgent reform of the UK voting and Parliamentary system as its top priority and to join with all other bodies concerned with democracy to campaign for a voting system that is Proportional and therefore reflects more accurately the wishes of the British people.

2. To campaign for reform of the House of Lords, to a proportional level of representation. 

3. To lobby Parliament to switch (as many other states have done) from the FPTP system to a Proportional Representation system familiar to the British public and similar to that used for the MEP elections 

4. To join with all other bodies concerned with democracy and voting reform to declare at every opportunity that the Conservative Government lacks full democratic legitimacy.

 

Amendments to the Motion

Amendment 1

Proposer: Ken Chambers
Seconder: 

Preamble:  
It is widely recognised that the Swiss PR system, which includes annual referenda on major issues as well as PR, is the most democratic available and has been adopted in principle by many states worldwide. 

Amendment:
Add to the end of point 3 of Resolves:
"and preferably also providing for Annual Referenda on major issues."

This amendment fell.

Amendment 2:
Proposer: Jack Maizels
Seconder: Danny Zinkus-Sutton

Under notes:

  • Point 1, remove “Clearly it does not have a proper governing mandate from the people and”. Remove “very serious” and insert “substantial”. 
  • Point 2, remove “900” and insert “820”. Remove "that in future the composition of the Lords should reflect the numbers of votes received by the parties in the 2015 General Election. Despite that the Green Party has only 1 peer and UKIP have only 3”

Under resolves:

  • Point 1, remove "To adopt the urgent reform of the UK voting and Parliamentary system as its top priority and to join with all other bodies concerned with democracy to campaign for" and insert "to continue campaigning for reform of the voting system, working with other organisations where possible to bring about".
  • Remove points 3 and 4

This amendment passed.