Voters in Wales ‘systematically ignored’ by Westminster’s FPTP system, report finds
Votes cast in Senedd elections are almost twice more representative of voting share than those in UK general elections, a report has found.
The Electoral Reform Society has used voting data from elections held since 1997 to compare the Senedd’s PR style voting system against Westminster’s first-past-the-post approach.
The analysis reveals that the mean difference between vote share and seat share, referred to as a DV score, is just 15 points for Senedd elections while it’s 27 for Westminster FPTP elections.
Jess Blair, Director of ERS Cymru, said: “Westminster’s one-party-takes-all voting system is failing to represent voters here in Wales.
“Across the last seven UK general elections, the leading party has got 71 percent of seats on just 44 percent of votes cast in Wales.
“While there’s some way to go to further democratise the Senedd, Westminster is almost twice as warped in terms of seat share.”
The ‘Here to Stay’ report is published on July 31st to mark the anniversary of the devolution bill which paved the way for two PR-elected governments in Wales and Scotland.
Senedd elections use a voting system, known as the Additional Member System (AMS), which combines FPTP for constituency seats with a form of proportional representation (PR) for regional seats.
One of the main criticisms of Westminster’s FPTP system is that it fails to fairly reflect voting share with parties able to get a majority of seats without needing a majority of votes.
The report found that across the past six Senedd elections, Labour has won 48.1% of seats, having received 34.4% of regional list votes, a more proportional outcome than UK general elections in Wales.
Jess Blair added: “It’s no wonder people feel distant from MPs when so many go ignored. We have an electoral system for the Commons that systematically silences Welsh voters – and it’s time for change.
“There is a crisis of democracy in the House of Commons, with unfair results skewing the issues that get heard in Parliament, the voices that speak up for Wales, and the resources that get directed here.“
In 2011, the UK Government held a referendum on replacing FPTP with an AV (Alternative vote) election method but this was rejected by 67.9% of voters.