Four in five Labour members back electoral reform for Westminster

Welcome news reported by LabourList showing, on one issue at least, Labour Party members in line with public opinion:

New polling shows 83% of Labour members believe the party should support changing the UK’s electoral system to proportional representation, up from 76% less than two years ago, LabourList can exclusively reveal.

According to a poll of nearly 1,000 Labour members, conducted by YouGov for Labour for a New Democracy, only 10% say their party should not support the switch from first-past-the-post to a form of proportional representation (PR).

The latest findings show record levels of support within Labour for the policy of electoral reform, which would change how general elections are run in the UK, with backing for PR being strong across all ages, genders and regions.

It follows a previous YouGov survey, carried out in December 2019 just before the Tories won an 80-seat majority with 43% of the popular vote, which found that 76% of party members thought Labour should back PR.

This is particularly welcome news as pretty much every plausible route to electoral reform for general elections involves large numbers of Labour MPs being willing to support, as discussed with Wendy Chamberlain and Paul Tyler on a podcast earlier this year:

Of course, traditionally Labour has talked a good game about favouring electoral reform for Westminster right up until it has the chance to do something (whether when in government or with the 2011 AV referendum) and then failed to follow through. But the breadth of grassroots support across all parts of the party, including among Momentum members, gives hope that next time will be different.

UPDATE: As well as Labour members being warm to electoral reform, Labour voters are warm to the idea of a coalition government featuring the Lib Dems in the event of a hung Parliament. One of their largest union backers also now supports electoral reform.

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5 responses to “Four in five Labour members back electoral reform for Westminster”

  1. Of course huge swathes of Labour supporters want electoral reform. How else will Labour ever get back into office? Was this the voice of Labour support in 1997, 2001 and 2005?

  2. When are political parties, of all colours, going to learn to stop thinking like waring tribes and start thinking of how we can co-operate for the good of the country. Yes, we need electoral reform but until and unless we can get rid of political tribalism I fear that we will wander in the wilderness until global warming finally destroys our civilisation.

  3. But can we get agreement on which particular ‘proportional’ electoral system to adopt? STV is my choice, as it is for the Lib-Dems and the Electoral Reform Society, all for good reason. Are any soundings being taken with Labour, the SNP and Greens? We need a combined campaign at the next General Election for one system, and not risk ruining the message by in-fighting between the pro-PR parties over just which system – a dispute that would leave the majority of electors stone cold, and turn them off in droves..

  4. Even with P.R., according to current trends, Labour would still be nowhere near forming a majority.

    • They don’t need to they can form a progressive alliance and not stand against other parties with a better chance of beating the Tories – electoral reform needs to go hand in hand with reform political institutions – only then will cross party consensus politics on issues which are good for everyone such as investment in out 3rd work infrastructure build a better Britain.

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