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Over two thirds of General Election votes had no effect of result says new report, showing need for proportional representation

August 21, 2017 11:48 AM

Polling station - genericThe instability of Westminster's supposedly 'strong and stable' voting system has been laid bare, according to the Electoral Reform Society definitive report on June's election.

The Society's landmark General Election report, 'The 2017 General Election: Volatile Voting, Random Results', reveals:

  • Wasted votes: 68% of votes had no impact on the result - 22 million votes were wasted this election
  • Volatile voting: This election saw the second highest electoral volatility (the movement of votes between parties) since 1931. People are switching sides and shopping around at 'astonishing' levels
  • Tiny margins: 0.0016% of voters choosing differently would have given the Conservatives a majority, while the election saw rise in very marginal seats: eleven seats were won by fewer than 100 votes
  • The 'hold your nose' election: ERS estimate 6.5 million people voted tactically, alongside surge in smaller parties standing aside
  • A divisive system: First Past the Post is exaggerating divisions in the UK - Labour secured 29% of South East vote but got just 10% of seats, while Conservatives won 34% of the North East vote but got just 9% of seats. Meanwhile, the SNP continue to be over-represented in Scotland, as is Labour in Wales, while Northern Ireland voters are forced into two camps
  • Seats not matching votes: The Conservatives largely benefited from the discrepancy between votes and seats, winning 56% of English seats on 46% of the vote - while losing out significantly in Wales. The voting system is struggling to keep up with huge changes in partisan alignment.
  • The results under PR: Labour would have emerged as largest party under Scotland and Northern Ireland's Single Transferable Vote system, according to a huge YouGov survey of voters' party preferences