From York to North Yorkshire, Northern Ireland, the Mendips, East Hertfordshire, Salisbury and Southampton, these are just some of the areas where local campaigning is really starting to take off. In the last couple of months many of these groups have had their first online meeting. At the same time, MVM North Staffs, MVM Brighton, MVM Leeds and MVM Oxford have all relaunched. 

Group leaders have been telling us what’s got them fired up and ready for action on electoral reform.

Sean Hagan runs MVM York. He said: “About 30 people attended our first online meeting, mainly from the York area, but also from as far afield as Sheffield, Leeds, Skipton & Ripon and Scarborough & Whitby. We represent a wide spectrum of local political opinion, joining together in a broadly-based popular alliance for Proportional Representation (PR) to empower voters with votes of equal value and real choice at the ballot box. 

“We also received an interesting and informative progress update from the Yorkshire & Humber Coordinator of Labour for a New Democracy (L4ND) on the growing campaign to change longstanding Labour support for the unrepresentative FPTP voting system.  

“As a follow-up to our successful launch, MVM York took part in MVM’s national campaign, the ‘Equal Votes Lobby’ on March 12th. Around 20 of us met online with Rachael Maskell, Labour MP for York Central, to press the urgent need for meaningful electoral reform. Whilst expressing some specific concerns about potential consequences of PR, it’s encouraging that Rachael supports the overall objective of a more proportional, representative and inclusive voting system in which all votes count equally. We look forward to having further opportunities to engage with her about how best to achieve this in the future.  

“Personally, I feel the need for PR – to provide equal votes and fair representation for all – unites all true democrats from different political traditions. Regardless of any other political beliefs or party affiliations, we need to work together to help fix the UK’s warped and dysfunctional democracy – and to ensure that all votes really do matter.” 

Louise Mauborgne, spokesperson for nearby MVM North Yorkshire, said “First past the post means huge numbers of votes don’t count. Around 43 per cent voted Conservative in 2019; but what happened to the rest of the votes?

 “The unfair voting system means often people do not bother to vote because they think their vote will not mean anything. It can also lead to a lack of trust in authority and disengagement with national or local government. Votes are cast in protest or tactically rather than honestly for policies they really want.”

A similar view is echoed in and around the Wells area, in Somerset. MVM Mendip group leader Julie Hickmott said: “I set up the group in order to do something positive towards obtaining a fairer voting system and democracy, and also to try and break through the apathy much of the general public has towards politics. Until we can get people interested and engaged in how this country is run, nothing much is going to change. We have so far written to local newspapers and, in our next meeting, we are going to discuss how we can approach district councils to seek support for PR. Once Covid restrictions allow, we will be setting up street stalls in the area.”

And their efforts are getting noticed, with several of the groups generating media coverage about their local campaigning. Check out the events calendar for full details on upcoming local group meetings.

Not in a group? Visit our map to join the grassroots movement near you! Or email local@makevotesmatter.org.uk for advice on how to set one up in your area.

Date for your diary: Saturday 17th July is the date for our summer action event. Join the movement today and share your ideas on how to make this the biggest and boldest action for PR!

Are you a local councillor? Join our councillor’s network and get involved and show your support for electoral reform.