The simplest and most practical form of Proportional Representation for the UK

Treble the number of MPs for each Constituency.

That simple.

Allow me to expand.

  • Every party fields three candidates for each existing Constituency.
  • Three MP Seats are divided according to vote proportions (see governing rules below)
  • Instantly transform our government to represent over 65% of voters at every election, rather than continually failing to reach 50%.

The following lists the specific rules governing MP Seat allocation based on vote share. Votes are primarily allocated based on a 30% finish post and a represented voting electorate percentage above 65%. There are a number of cases where exceptions will need to be enacted to meet the 65% representation minimum or to provide a balanced representation where there are two relatively equal results. These are the primary governing rules. All rules are conditional of others, barring the founding rule.

Founding Rule

  • +30% = One Seat. Multiple +30% winners are split proportionally. This is the founding rule guaranteeing one Seat.

General Rules

  • +60% = Two Seats. All three Seats may be gained should other rules not supersede this.
  • +70% = Three Seats.
  • Dual +30% vote splits 2/1 in favour of largest percentage if the difference between parties exceeds 5%.
  • Multiple +40% vote splits 2/1 in favour of largest percentage if the difference between parties exceeds 5%.
  • +40% with one other party +30% – Two Seats to +40%, one to +30%.

Exceptional Rules

  • Two parties gaining 30-40% where difference does not exceed 5% – To provide a balance, the third placed party will be awarded a Seat.
  • Two parties gaining +40% where difference does not exceed 5% – To provide a balance, the third placed party will be awarded a Seat.
  • +40% with one or more other party not reaching 30% 2 Seats to +40% party, one to next largest party. PR rule may enact.
  • Should no party reach 30%, a split will be made between the three largest vote shares. Such results denote a widely contested Constituency thus engendering the need for a widely spread representative body. This rare scenario is the only rule that allows for less than 65% representation. *

Proportional Representation Rule

  • Should the percentage of represented voters not exceed 65%, Seats will be distributed in such a way that the total of represented voters exceeds 65%. Examples of such cases would be 62% + 14% or 44% 23% as 2/1 splits and 42% 14% 13% or 32% 26% 13% as 1/1/1 splits.

*In the one case where this occurred in the 2015 General Election (Belfast South), under the new rules, MPs would still represent 64% of voters, rather than the 25.54% gained by the current MP.

The following table provides a breakdown of the 2015 election if the new system had been applied, based on the results in each Constituency.

PR Table

Applying the new rules to the 2015 elections provides interesting reading and considerations.

  1. The end result would be largely the same as under the current system. This undermines the dully repeated argument against PR, “Chaos would ensue”. Larger parties’ percentages of Seats controlled move closer to national vote distribution and smaller parties are represented by greater numbers of MPs in more Constituencies. **
  2. The fundamental difference is that over 65% of the voting electorate is represented in all bar one Constituency when applying the new rules. In the example when applied to the 2015 General Election above, the national average representation reaches 77%! (Scotland 82%, Wales 74%, NI 77% and England 76%)
  3. All parties would have an elected MP representing them in more Constituencies than ever before. This means that the person you vote for is far more likely to be representing you in parliament. Smaller parties are better represented nationally, yet larger parties have not lost the control they had previously. In fact the larger parties also extend their representative areas.
  4. Although numbers of representative MPs would increase, control of Constituencies appear from these figures to remain largely the same. These rules demonstrably work at least as well as the existing system, since Constituencies under full control by one party (578) are still by far the majority. This undermines arguments against PR causing instability by generating unpredictable unbalanced results.
  5. Only 15 Labour Constituencies would be fully controlled by 3 MPs and only 2 by the Conservatives. No other party achieves three MPs in one Constituency.
  6. Only six Constituencies would achieve the automatic 3 Seats by exceeding 70% support. All are currently controlled by Labour.
  7. Currently only 17 MPs are from Constituencies where they have gained over 65% of the vote (which maps quite well with the 15/2 fully controlled Constituency split between Labour/Conservative under the new rules). Under the new rules only one Constituency would fall below 65% representation and that by one percent.
  8. Currently, unelected losing candidates are not privy to the mechanics and day-to-day workings of our government. By extending the numbers of representative MPs from all parties, we will ensure that all parties have a greater number of capable members should their fortunes change dramatically at the next election. We would enjoy greater stability should the learning curve of governance not be so steep for our MPs.
  9. Labour seem to be the losers in the specific 2015 case as, although their overall percentage of Seats would increase to 36%, their share of controlled Seats would drop to 30% (notably the same as their share of the national vote). Contrasting to this, the overall Seats held by Conservatives would drop from 51% to 42% whilst the Seats they control would only drop to 47% (closer to their 36% share of the national vote but not as dramatic a drop as for Labour).
  10. Taking the 322 Seat ‘finish post’ as constant, these results would have resulted in a hung parliament, which given Conservatives winning by 37% to 30% isn’t too far-fetched. Further modelling of results against previous and the upcoming June 8th results should demonstrate whether this would be a common expectation or unusual.

**In some cases such as UKIP and Green parties, the actual Seats controlled would remain exactly the same, whilst expansion of their presence in other Constituencies would follow the same as all parties. This may be a condition particular to smaller or less influential political parties whose support is distributed across a wider geographic area than regional and longer standing parties. Liberals would lose three Seats they control but increase their presence in 20 shared Constituencies and hold a minority share in a further 55.

Another aspect of applying rules that exist as an evolution of an existing system is that they can be retrospectively fit to previous elections. This provides comparisons and analysis that can reinforce the fairness of such a system, as well as to see if it would have affected the outcome of previous elections. (I am working on those figures at present)

Looking at results from a Scottish perspective, they now denote a possibly more realistic view of the Scottish nation. The SNP would hold control of 55 Constituencies rather than the current 56, yet would be represented in all 59. MPs representing the SNP would have a 114 to 60 MP majority with those 60 split between all other parties (Conservatives represented by 1 MP in 9 Constituencies, Labour in 43 and the Liberal Democrats in 9, plus a two Seat control of one other Constituency.)

We currently lack uniting forces in the UK. This simple, single change will do more than any party political, patriotic, religious or financial proposal offered currently. Why should we continue to accept the term ‘Majority’ when applied to proportions of 25-40%? Let’s raise the pass mark to something respectable. Smaller parties and currently disenfranchised voters would have less to rail against, given what is clearly and indisputably a fairer method of democratic representation.

These rules purely extend an existing system so there is little to change in terms of procedure and a nice little earner to be made in expanding the logistical support to the extra MPs. Even Civil Servants can’t complain (more than usual) as they’ll be able to create more jobs for life with their accompanying exceptions to standard pay grades (A decent trade-off for looking after MPs). Costs? Well, if we can afford tens of ‘billions’ to build a single railway line, perhaps a few hundred million to modernise our governing systems isn’t as bitter a pill for the general public to swallow.

Ministers could still be drawn from the ranks of MPs and as the pool available will be far greater, more competition and potential talent will be available to our government. Voting could fall under the remit of Constituencies or MPs, depending on the context. International matters could require validation by MP, national by Constituency. In this way the will of the people can be better reflected and our government can more honestly claim the support of the people.

One of the expected and intended results of adopting such rules would be to encourage more of the electorate to vote. Something has to have driven 6-9 million voters away since 2001 (that is discounting the average 9 million that statistically almost never vote). Returning these people to the pool of voters would further enhance our democracy. Providing this modern path to control our democratic process is the sort of thing that will encourage more trust than has existed for decades, engendering the desire to engage.

And finally, yes parliament would no longer be based in Westminster. It is a symbolic and English focussed base far better suited to tourism. How about somewhere near Hereford? Nice area, central location to all countries, with good communications, alongside a number of other useful aspects.

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