UK Government to scrap voting system that helped Plaid and Labour to victory in PCC elections
The UK Government intend to push ahead with plans that would scrap a voting system that helped Plaid Cymru and Labour to victory in two of last week’s Police and Crime Commissioner elections.
When the votes were counted yesterday it became apparent that both Plaid Cymru in Dyfed-Powys and Labour in North Wales were in second place to the Conservatives on first preference votes.
However, the election used an alternative vote system where voters could choose their first and second choice for PCC. In both cases, Plaid and Labour pulled ahead into the lead on second preferences and won both contests.
The UK Home Secretary, Priti Patel, has already unveiled plans to switch all future PCC elections from the existing supplementary vote system to the first past the post system used in elections to the House of Commons.
Conservatives now intend to push the legislation through the House of Commons, according to the Guardian.
Policing and justice are not devolved matters in Wales, although they are devolved to Scotland, Northern Ireland and Manchester. Labour’s manifesto expressed a desire to devolve the matters in Wales, but in practice that will depend on UK Government cooperation.
Prof Tony Travers, of the London School of Economics, told the Guardian that the Conservatives thought that a FPTP system would make it easier for them to win elections, as FPTP tended to split the left-wing vote.
“It’s likely that first past the post would make it somewhat easier for the Conservatives to win if they could come up with a really good candidate,” he said.
The changes would also impact Mayoral elections in England, after Labour won 11 of the 13 posts being contested across England. Under a FPTP system they would however have likely lose the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough mayoralty.
Labour’s Andy Dunbobbin won the Police and Crime Commissioner role in North Wales with 98,034 overall votes defeating Conservative rival Pat by 7,885 votes after second preference ballots were added in.
Speaking in Connah’s Quay, where the results were announced, he told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “I take this role seriously.
“I understand I will be measured against my manifesto pledges by the people of North Wales.
“I’m very much looking forward to starting this work from now.”
Incumbent Dafydd Llywelyn of Plaid Cymru will take on the Dyfed-Powys role for a second term as he is declared the winner at the count centre in Llandysul.
The overall voting result – after first and second preference votes were counted – was Dafydd Llywelyn 96488 and Jon Burns 77408.
Labour’s Jeff Cuthbert and and Alun Michael won comfortable re-election in Gwent and South Wales.