Hackney Council have shelved until the September debate and decision on a motion to promote the introduction of proportional representation in Council elections.
The motion would have made the introduction of a single transferable vote Council policy.
Hackney Council notes:
The full motion was:
The UK’s First Past the Post voting system curtails voter choice and leaves millions feeling unrepresented by their elected representatives.
Research has found that electoral systems impact participation in politics for example there is a positive correlation between proportional representation (PR) and women elected to legislatures.
The introduction of PR for local elections in Scotland has led to an increase in turnout, which was 44.8% at the last elections, held in 2022. In contrast turnout in Hackney in 2022 was 34.29% (this varies by ward with lowest turnout in Hoxton at 24%).
The Labour Party in government successfully implemented Proportional Representation to a number of elections, introducing PR into the London Assembly, in devolved government for Scotland and Wales and the Supplementary vote for the Mayoral elections.
With the Welsh Senedd reviewing legislation on Single Transferable Vote for local councils, England looks likely to be the only part of the UK without any form of PR at local level.
According to polling, the majority of voters in the United Kingdom support the use of PR for elections in the United Kingdom.
The last Labour Government put together the Jenkins Commission, which recommended the adoption of the AV+ voting system. This system is similar to how we vote for the London Assembly, giving voters local representatives and regional list members.
The Green Party of England and Wales has a long standing policy of supporting proportional representation and electoral reform.
In June, Prospect and the University and College Union (UCU) voted to embrace more proportional general elections. The list of trade unions who back electoral reform is long and growing, it currently includes Unison, Unite the Union, Fire Brigades Union and Musicians’ Union.
Hackney Council recognises:
That these factors have contributed to dangerous levels of distrust and disillusionment with our democratic process.
That it is essential that faith is restored in our democratic system and that the public see Parliament as fairly reflecting their views.
That our First Past the Post voting system is a significant barrier to restoring this faith and all but guarantees that the balance of opinion among the electorate is not reflected in Parliament and at local councils.
That a system of Proportional Representation in which seats match votes and all votes count equally would help to rebuild public trust by ensuring that all political views are represented in Parliament and at local councils in proportion to their level of public support.
That systems of Proportional Representation that maintain a constituency link are best, since they mean voters will still have local representatives. Single Transferable Vote and AV+ both fulfil this criteria.
Hackney Council therefore resolves to:
To make representations to Hackney’s MPs asking them to lobby for change to our outdated electoral systems and support Single Transferable Vote for electing local councils, AV+ for Westminster elections and the return of Supplementary Vote for Mayoral elections.
To oppose this Conservative Government’s efforts to remove existing PR systems, and write a letter to … view the full agenda text for item 13c
1. That in accordance with Procedure Rule 16.4 of the Council’s Constitution that this motion, which was not debated stand referred without discussion, to the next ordinary meeting of Full Council on 14 September 2022.
2. That this motion will be the second motion to be debated at the next ordinary Full Council meeting.