68% of votes in Wales made no difference to General Election result, new analysis shows
68% of votes in Wales made no difference to the result of December’s UK General Election, analysis by the Electoral Reform Society has shown.
Only 500,077 of the 1,544,357 votes cast in Wales, or 32.4% of the total, were decisive in electing the nation’s 40 MP.
Meanwhile, 52% of the votes went on candidates that were not elected, and 15% were ‘surplus votes’ that weren’t needed to elect the winning MP.
The Electoral Reform Society are campaigning to ditch the First Past the Post system that is used at General Election and to bring in a proportional representation system where all are the majority of votes count towards the result.
The society noted that Labour won a majority of seats in Wales despite winning only 41% of the vote.
“As is often the case with FPTP, a decline in support gave the party a disproportionate drop in seats, with an eight percentage point decrease in votes leading to a 15 percentage point decrease in seats,” the ERS’ report said.
“A large number of votes went unrepresented – with no seats for the Liberal Democrats, Brexit Party or Green Party despite all these parties increasing their vote share.”
They suggest that under a more proportional Additional Member System, Labour should have won 14 seats in Wales, the Conservatives 15, Plaid Cymru five, the Brexit Party three and the Liberal Democrats three.
Dr. Jessica Garland, Director of Research and Policy at the Electoral Reform Society, said that it was time for all parties to back reform of the system.
“It is no wonder trust in politics is at rock bottom – the vast majority of people’s votes are being systematically ignored by a voting system that is morally and politically bankrupt,” she said.
“Westminster cannot go on like this – all parties must get behind reform of this broken system at long last.
“It’s time Westminster caught up with the rest of the UK and ensured seats in parliament reflect how people actually want to vote. No more ‘holding your nose’ tactical votes, ignored votes and warped results. Voters are tired of feeling voiceless – and it doesn’t have to be this way.
“This research exposes the scale of disenfranchisement that is happening under one-party-takes-all voting. But we can build a fairer politics, where everyone is heard and your vote counts no matter where you are. It’s time for proportional representation and real democracy at Westminster.”