Proportional representation

I believe that parliament needs to be representative of communities across Britain and that we must make it easier for people to vote and engage in politics.

At the 2017 General Election I stood on a manifesto which committed to establish a constitutional convention to look at reforming the way Britain works at a fundamental level. As well as having the option to look at different voting systems, such a Convention would look at extending democracy locally, regionally and nationally – starting by ending the hereditary principle and reducing the size of the House of Lords. It is important that we look at different voting systems as part of a wider package of constitutional and electoral reform to address the growing democratic deficit across Britain.

I welcome the fact that parliament was recently given the opportunity to debate the advantages and disadvantages of proportional representation, forms of which are already used in the devolved administrations across the UK, as well as in the local elections in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

There are, of course, strengths and weaknesses in all voting systems. Although the 2017 General Election did not produce a strong majority government, First Past The Post (FPTP) does have a history of generally returning stable, single party governments and of retaining the constituency link, both of which are important benefits to our electoral system.

The government has repeatedly stated its view that FPTP is the best system for elections to the House of Commons, and has no plans to change the voting system.

I believe it is important to keep looking at different voting systems. However, changing the voting system alone will not fix the disconnect that some voters feel about our political process. We therefore need a wide-ranging transformation of all existing political structures to help build a vibrant and active democracy in which all eligible voters are registered to vote and can have their say on decision making.