The tide is turning for our archaic first-past-the-post (FPTP) voting system. Over 100 countries worldwide use some form of proportional representation (PR), while fewer than 50 still use FPTP. Sadly, while 40 out of 43 European countries use PR, as do Scotland and Wales for their legislatures, elections to Westminster are among those seemingly stuck in the past. But there are signs that this could change sooner than we think.
In October 2022, 83% of Labour Party members voted overwhelmingly for PR in Westminster, joining 60% of Constituency Labour Parties, the Liberal Democrats, the SNP, Plaid Cymru, and the Greens who have all long advocated for PR. Latest polls indicate that 51% of the British public are now in favour of PR too, so the time is ripe.
But what factors in the UK might just tip the balance and pave the way for PR? Put another way, can we learn from the way in which PR came about in those countries that have adopted it? Dr. Dennis Pilon is a Professor and Chair of the Political Science Department at York University in Toronto, Canada, and widely acknowledged internationally as an expert in his field. Prof. Pilon has made a special study of how PR came to be introduced in all current democracies which use it. He has agreed to speak to British electoral reformers on the subject of “How did the other democracies get proportional representation?”
Prof. Dennis Pilon
We are also in the process of inviting an MP who will provide a counterpoint to Prof. Pilon’s talk, and ask how the lessons learned from other countries’ experience of adopting PR could help us make this vital move before British politics loses what democratic credibility it has left.
A Q&A session will follow the speaker slot.
The session will be chaired by Alan Story, co-founder in 2020 of GET PR DONE!
Compass is the political home for everyone who wants to be part of a much more equal, democratic and sustainable future. We are powered by members working to change the political system at the next election and win as one.
GET PR DONE! is a cross party/no party campaigning group that is working to bring in a proportional representation voting system in the UK. As well as carrying out widespread social media and offline campaigning, we believe that the first step on the road to PR has to be an energetic cross party/no party campaign to win Labour Party support.
Make Votes Matter is a single issue, grassroots campaign for Proportional Representation in general elections. Our work involves on-the-street campaigning, organising events and mass lobbies, providing speakers on PR to communities, and consensus building amongst pro-PR campaigners with our ‘Good Systems Agreement’.
Unlock Democracy is fighting for a vibrant inclusive UK democracy that puts power in the hands of the people. We campaign for a wide range of political reforms that are necessary to deliver that goal.