Credit: Joseph Casey

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For media bids and more information, please contact Stephen Gilmore: +32 498 07 78 19; media@makevotesmatter.org.uk 

LONDON, 24 May 2023

  • On Wednesday 24th May, hundreds of people from across the UK converged on Westminster to tell MPs it’s time to Sort The System.

  • The mass lobby – organised by Make Votes Matter and a coalition of other democracy groups – saw hundreds of constituents meet with their local MPs in Parliament to highlight the flaws in the First Past the Post electoral system and call for Proportional Representation.

  • Speakers included Zack Polanski AM, Mandu Reid, Cllr Hina Bokhari AM and Clive Lewis MP.

Hundreds of activists descended on Westminster today demanding MPs of all parties take action in support of Proportional Representation as part of a mass lobby of Parliament: Sort The System.

The lobby, which saw hundreds of voters from across the country descend on Parliament to meet with MPs, was organised in response to the widespread concern that Westminster politics isn’t working for ordinary people across the country.(1)

Constituents as far afield as Suffolk Coastal, Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, Blyth Valley and South East Cornwall met with MPs from every region of the country and every party in Parliament.

Supporters of electoral reform also attended a rally in the Emmanuel Centre to hear from a cross-party platform of speakers about the need to reform Westminster to deliver a system in which all votes count equally.

Speaking at the event, Clive Lewis MP (Labour), said: 

“The Labour party is now a party that among the membership and the affiliated unions – after decades are striving – supports Proportional Representation. I can’t tell you how important that is. 

“At the 2022 conference, there was no defence of First Past the Post because the arguments have been comprehensively defeated. Everyone in the Labour party knows our politics and our democracy is broken and at the root of that is the voting system.”

Cllr Hina Bokhari AM, (Liberal Democrat) said:

“I was elected under the PR system. It means someone like me can get elected as one of the first Muslim women elected to the London Assembly. Thanks to PR I know the Greater London Assembly is truly reflective of London.”

Zack Polanski AM, Deputy leader of Green Party (England & Wales), said:

“Key conversations are often missing from the national stage because our politics exists in a vacuum. There is such a narrow focus that issues such as taxing the wealthy, tackling inequality and a positive voice for migrants are often missing from our national stage. Proportional representation will open up our national conversation and that will grow everyone’s trust in politics.”

The lobby comes as public backing for Proportional Representation has never been stronger: polling consistently shows support for a proportional voting system comfortably outstripping support for the status quo. 

A new poll out today found that the public supports a move to PR by a margin of more than two to one – including 50% of Labour and 45% of Conservative 2019 voters – with only 1 in 5 saying the UK political system is working well for the people. The most recent British Social Attitudes survey, a well-respected gauge of national opinion, also found that a majority of people in Britain favour replacing First Past the Post with PR.(2)


-ENDS-

Notes to editors:

Sort The System is a mass lobby of Parliament calling for Proportional Representation for UK general elections. It is the joint initiative of the organisations listed below, coordinated by Make Votes Matter. More information is available here.

References:

(1) Just 13% of people think the UK Parliament has done a “fairly good”’ or “very good” job in recent years (YouGov Biannual Tracker)

(2) The majority of the public (51%) support introducing PR, up from 27% in 2011 (British Social Attitudes Survey 2021, National Centre for Social Research)

Supporting organisations:

Make Votes Matter is a single-issue campaign for Proportional Representation in the House of Commons. Working with all parties to generate irresistible demand for PR, we aspire to a truly democratic UK in which everyone has an equal voice, power is shared fairly, and decisions are made for the common good.

Unlock Democracy is a not-for-profit organisation which campaigns for a vibrant, inclusive democracy that puts power in the hands of the people. Enshrined in a new, written constitution, we want a democratic society that ensures equality and justice for all, and a political system that reflects and upholds the values we collectively share.

Best for Britain is the UK’s leading internationalist campaign striving for the best social, economic, environmental, and democratic outcomes for the British people, and solutions to the problems created by Brexit. We work with all parties in parliament, businesses and like-minded groups. Best for Britain is the Secretariat for the UK Trade and Business Commission and the APPG on Coronavirus.

Compass is a home for those who want to build and be a part of a Good Society; one where equality, sustainability and democracy are not mere aspirations, but a living reality. We believe an essential step to making the Good Society a reality is reforming our outdated, broken politics and replacing it with a new democratic settlement that emphasises collaboration, participation and alliance-building.

The Electoral Reform Society is the UK’s leading voice for democratic reform. We operate on a simple premise – that politics can be better than it is. We work with everyone – from political parties, civil society groups and academics to our own members and supporters and the wider public – to campaign for a better democracy in the UK.

Open Britain is a grassroots activist network fighting to make democracy work for everyone. We believe that every person has the right to have their voice heard and to participate in the decisions that shape their lives. Everything we do is designed to defend, strengthen and renew democracy.

Politics for the Many is the trade union campaign for political reform. If you are involved in a trade union, join us. We believe change comes through people joining together – in unions, in parties, in campaigns – to say ‘enough is enough’.