The First Past the Post (FPTP) voting system is a barrier to progressive change, repeatedly returning extreme Tory governments against the wishes of most voters. In 19 of the last 20 general elections parties to the left of the Conservatives won the popular vote yet the Tories have governed for two-thirds of that time.
This has enabled soaring inequality, underfunded public services, attacks on trade unions and callous and incompetent responses to Covid and climate breakdown.
FPTP privileges ‘swing voters’ over neglected voters – including younger, black and minority ethnic communities. It allows the UK to be governed by an out of touch elite, throwing our democracy into crisis.
Those societies with the lowest levels of inequality and social exclusion all have proportional voting systems. No other left-wing party in Europe supports the use of FPTP for general elections and polling shows three quarters of Labour members want Labour to back PR.
‘Levelling up’ is about power, not just economic opportunity. We need a Labour government to transform society. But to protect the gains we make in power, to avoid losing future decades to Tory minority rule and to give everyone a real voice in a 21st century democracy, we must change the voting system.
Conference resolves that:
- The next Labour government must change the voting system for general elections to a form of Proportional Representation.
- Labour should convene an open and inclusive process, to decide the specific voting system which it will commit to introducing in the next manifesto.