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68% of votes in Wales made no difference to General Election result, new analysis shows

02 Mar 2020 3 minute read
Counting votes for the Clwyd West constituency. Picture by Llywelyn2000.

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.”

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4 years ago

What will the Welsh public and Welsh assembly do about this …. absolutely nothing …until we stand up and raise our voices .Wales will continue being treated as second class citizens .the English sorry UK government knows full well that unlike Scotland they can continue treating us with contempt.
Other than defence I’m not sure what Scotland is not able to decide upon that affects them

We will all be shouting for Welsh rugby this Saturday buts that’s as far as it goes in us all shouting together for the benefit of Wales.

4 years ago
Reply to  Phil

Control of borders is the other big one that Scotland doesn’t have. Can’t think of any others either. Although you probably know this already, Phil, here’s the crucial difference between Scotland and Wales: Scotland — Whichever powers are not specifically reserved for Westminster, go by default to Holyrood. Cymru — Only those powers that are specifically devolved, go to Cardiff Bay. Everything not on the list, stays by default with Westminster. So Scotland can legislate on far more than Wales can, which results in the ineffectuality of Welsh devolution that Hamilton and Reckless use to justify full re-integration with England.… Read more »

4 years ago

Is it any wonder that positive engagement in politics is so low when the Westminster FPTP system is fundamentally undemocratic and leaves voters voiceless! Westmister is not fit for purpose and needs fundamental reform.

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