The most disproportionate election in history

This year’s general election led to the most disproportionate result in history, so why do we persist with an outdated model of representation?

The Electoral Reform Society has published an analysis of the results, which show that more people than ever aren’t represented by the party they voted for.

Some of the headline findings:

  • 50% of votes in the election (22 million) went to losing candidates,while 74% of votes (15 million) were ‘wasted’
  • 8 million voters were likely to have voted ‘tactically’ – over 9% of voters
  • The ERS was able to call the winner correctly in 363 of the 368 seatsit had categorised as ‘safe’, a month before polling day
  • This election saw an MP win on the lowest vote share in electoral history – 24.5% in South Belfast.
  • 331 of 650 MPs were elected on under 50% of the vote, and 191 with less than 30% of the electorate.

Under a more proportional voting system – the Single Transferable Vote – the analysis found there would have been a much more representative Parliament. The Conservatives would have won 276 seats to Labour’s 236, while the SNP would have secured 34, UKIP 54 and the Lib Dems 26. The Greens would have won two more seats – in Bristol and London.

Katie Ghose, chief executive of the ERS, said: “First Past the Post is artificially dividing the UK – giving the SNP nearly all Scottish seats on half the vote, while excluding Labour from the South of England and over-representing them in Wales and under-representing the Conservatives in the North of England and Scotland.”

The UK is clinging on to an outdated and outmoded electoral system, due to the unfounded fear the public has for a coalition, and the fear of politicians in the two leader parties of losing seats and power.

As Ghose said: “This situation is unsustainable if the prime minister truly wants a ‘one nation’ Britain. Our voting system is breaking up Britain.”

(Picture by: Benjamin Nolan)

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email


Cllr Richard Tucker   01/06/2015 at 14:58

The case for proportional representation is overwhelming in a supposedly fair and democratic country. I speak as a Labour Councillor in South West England, sitting on a Unitary Authority where Labour polled in the high teens percentage vote across the District, but got just three seats (6%) out of 50. The Tories meanwhile polled just over forty per cent but won 36 seats (72%). Represenatative??

James Cairns   01/06/2015 at 19:49

I completely agree. UKIP got almost 4 million votes yet only one MP. An absolute joke. Our ridiculous voting system is long overdue for change but our so called "democratic establishment" aren't interested for obvious reasons. Coalition fears has nothing to do with it!

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