Is our current voting system fair? 50 Exmouth reisdents say no

PUBLISHED: 07:00 21 July 2019

Olly Davey, town and district councillor, participating with Jo Swift, of Make Votes Matter. Picture: Jo Swift

Olly Davey, town and district councillor, participating with Jo Swift, of Make Votes Matter. Picture: Jo Swift

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A petition calling for a change in the way MPs are voted for was signed by more than 50 Exmouth residents.

Campaigners from Make Votes Matter took to the streets to find out whether people still supported the existing 'first past the post' system of electing MPs or whether they want a change.

As part of the day, a street stall was held in the Magnolia Centre where people were asked to sign a petition calling on a change to the way MPs are elected.

As it stands, the electorate votes for a single MP to represent the constituency they live in. A party which secures more than half the constituencies has a majority in the House of Commons and can form a government.

The petition, calling for a change to a proportional representation format where parties win seats based on the percentage of overallvotes they gain, will be sent to East Devon MP Sir Hugo Swire.

He told the Journal there is no 'appetite' for change after the referendum on the voting system in 2011 saw 68 per cent of people chose to stay with 'first past the post' over an alternative voting system.

He said: "At a time where we are having to deal with Brexit and other constitutional issues, I do not detect a great appetite to have a further referendum on the issue for the time being."

The Demand Democracy Day event was one of 90 being held across the country.

Campaigners turned a rubbish bin into a 'first past the post' ballot box in protest of what they call an 'antiquated' system.

Green Party town and district councillor Olly Davey, who took part himself, said: "It was good to speak to so many people today and hear their views.

"Many feel that there is no point in voting because it does not make any difference.

"Until we have a fairer voting system that reflects people's views, whatever they are, people will be forced to use tactical voting, will vote for parties that don't reflect their real opinions, or just won't bother."

Go to www.makevotesmatter.org.uk if you want to back the campaign.

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