I’ve only heard Labour Member of Parliament John Denham speak in person once, but the time I did (earlier this month) it was immediately clear why he’s so often been rated by others as one of the better and more thoughtful Labour MPs.
So it’s good to see that he has become the new chair of the Labour Campaign for Electoral Reform. He said,
An AV referendum is on the agenda because of the work Labour electoral reformers have done. We have to make sure the Labour Party maintains its commitment to the AV referendum and to success in the referendum if and when it comes.
I much prefer STV to AV, but AV is the only realistic show in town at the moment and would be better than first past the post. Labour’s backing for AV could be crucial to winning the referendum – and losing the referendum will put back electoral reform for the House of Commons by many years.
So it’s good to see one prominent Labour MPs at least willing to stick to his guns on electoral reform, especially given how some in Labour have been only too happy to dump their manifesto commitments in this area. Most notable were those Labour MPs parading through the media in the immediate aftermath of the election but there have also been numerous Labour members who never quibbled over fixed-term Parliaments being in their own party’s manifesto but have now neatly flip-flopped and express their outrage at the very thought of them.
There looks to be a real battle ahead in Labour over whether it is a party that believes in political reform or whether it retreats to its old ways and simply opposed whatever the government proposes.
Good luck then to John Denham – and I’m sure he’ll have fun pointing out to some of his colleagues who oppose AV that Labour uses AV for its own leadership election…