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UKIP, Lib Dems, Greens, SNP and Plaid Cymru join forces on electoral reform

Five party leaders and more than 477,000 people have signed a petition calling for voting reform after the general election resulted in huge disparities between votes cast and MPs elected.

UKIP, the Lib Dems, the Greens, SNP and Plaid Cymru all put aside their ideological differences to stand together on the issue and demand that the government take action.

The petition, organised by the Electoral Reform Society and Unlock Democracy, calls for "a fairer, more proportional voting system which ensures that seats in Parliament match the way people vote".

"This would make sure people's choices were fairly reflected in Parliament, and would allow everyone to vote for someone they believe in," it says.

The recent general election result has been widely condemned by electoral reformists and party leaders who received a high vote share but few MPs.

UKIP won just one seat despite collecting 12.9% of the vote, while the Greens also won one seat despite receiving 3.8% support. The Liberal Democrats won 1.2% of seats on 8.1% of the vote.

The SNP were beneficiaries of the system at the last election, winning 8.6% of the seats on 4.7% of the vote, but want to see the system reformed for the future.

The DUP won the same amount of seats as the Lib Dems – eight – but received just 184,260 votes in total, compared to the Lib Dems’ 2,415,862.

Signatories to the petition include UKIP leader, Nigel Farage, its sole MP Douglas Carswell, the Greens’ leader Natalie Bennett, the Lib Dems’ acting leader Baroness Brinton, Plaid’s leader Leanne Wood and the new SNP MPs Philippa Whitford and Alison Thewliss.

Farage, who was at Downing Street to deliver the petition, told the BBC the results highlighted the need for change.

"The results of the general election where five million votes, the views of five million people are now represented by only two MPs; four million people voted for UKIP, for only one seat. It cannot go on like this," he said.

(Image: The cross-party group at Downing Street handing in the electoral reform petition. Included in the photograph are; Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood [left], Green Party leader Natalie Bennett [fourth left], Nigel Farage, the leader of the UKIP [fifth right], and UKIP MP Douglas Carswell [right]. Source: AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

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Gillian Jillett   20/05/2015 at 10:44

History shows us that first past the post whilst not always fair, but provides us with stable government, no matter what colour the party might be. Proportional representation is a recipe for permanent coalition Government and we have experienced that over time through our history and over the last 5 years, when the will of the people can be diluted by a less popular party and never delivers a strong,effective and decisive Government which provides the country with stability. The House of Lords was originally supposed to provide the balance to an over powerful executive, in the Commons, but has been stuffed with party supporters which has taken away the impartiality that it used to have. We will see what havoc minority parties can cause even with a majority Government over the next 5 years, with particular reference to the SNP, who only represent 5 million people in the UK, but have the potential to break up the Union with unknown consequences, but could greatly disadvantage Scotland.

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