• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What are the arguments for and against a system of proportional representation for Westminster elections?

Extracts from this document...


Waldo Jan. 26th 2003 What are the arguments for and against a system of proportional representation for Westminster elections? For Westminster elections the present electoral system is called first-past-the-post (FPTP) which is considered as unfair and undemocratic in many aspects, such as giving a disproportionate number of seats to parties for their percentage of votes received. So the issue of electoral reform to a proportional representation (PR) system which is used throughout Europe has arisen. Under a PR electoral system, a party's seats in the House of Commons would be, more or less, in proportion to the votes cast this party gets in the general election, depending on the type of PR system used. PR electoral systems have many supporters, and they indeed have many advantages to replace the present system. PR systems are seen as more representative than FPTP system mainly because the percentage of seats in the legislature is proportional to the votes cast, so more voters' wishes are represented, especially with the free list system which is seen as ...read more.


From the Liberal Democratics' view, this can be seen as a good thing, for it may curb "elective dictatorship" (to use Lord Hailsham's phrase), and because of the competition among parties, MPs may work harder with high attendance in the House of Commons. In October 1997, Lord Jenkins in his report (an Independent Commission on the Voting System) advocated a system of AVPLUS. (Moyra Grant 1999, P.46) Under this system, 80-85 per cent of MPs are elected in single-member constituencies, and a top up of 15-20 per cent members are chosen from parties by a regional list system, to achieve a more proportional outcome. If this system had been used in 1997, Labour would have had fewer seats, but they would still have won the election with a clear majority. Furthermore, opinion polls suggest that about 60 per cent voters would now welcome a PR electoral system. (Moyra Grant 1999, P.39) The main advantage of the FPTP system is its simplicity, one person has only one vote to support one candidate, and the candidate with the most votes wins the constituency, though usually without an absolute majority of votes cast. ...read more.


For instance in Italy, the PR electoral system is regarded as a major cause of weak coalition government. So in a referendum in 1993, a majority of Italians voted to abandon PR and adopt the FPTP system. (Bill Jones, Dennis Kavanagh, Michael Moran, Philip Norton 2001, P.149) Every coin has two sizes, PR electoral systems also have advantages and disadvantages, depending on the view from different angles. Because of the success of PR electoral systems used in other parts of Britain and the Western European countries' elections, the shortcomings of the FPTP system, Lord Jenkins' report, and mainly because the Blair government has considered the possibility of a future referendum on changing the electoral system, the prospects for a PR system have certainly taken a large step forward. (Bill Jones, Dennis Kavanagh, Michael Moran, Philip Norton 2001, P.153) However, each type of PR systems has disadvantage, and mainly because the two dominant parties, Labour and Conservative may not favour PR for they will both lose seats. Thus for Westminster election the prospect of a PR system is still in uncertainty. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Information Systems and Communication section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Information Systems and Communication essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Database Coursework on a Vehicle Rental System: Analysis

    5 star(s)

    Also, these photocopied back-ups are contained within the same office, which strikes me as a silly decision. If a fire were to ravage the offices, the back-ups would be burned along with the originals. The manger would like me to be able to archive records in the new system, so I'll need a strategy for backing up the data.

  2. Using examples, discuss the advantages/disadvantages of proportional representation systems compared to the ‘first past ...

    Plurality results in single member constituencies, which provide for a direct relationship between MPs and constituents. It means that MPs selected by their local party should remain accountable for that area and constituents can vote out any seen to be failing to respond to local needs.

  1. Feasibility Report

    the new system takes place, and that any problems or bugs concerning the new system are looked at and resolved immediately, for example the server that controls the running of the WAN web within the company, if this was to crash, the two vital methods of placing an order, through

  2. Implementing a new system for Mastercare.

    Integer Presence Check Hours The number of hours it took to repair the product For use in calculating the overall price Integer Presence Check 0 From Engineer Vat ID The Vat ID number Long Integer Presence Check 1 Username Engineers unique username Used to log into the system Text Presence

  1. The Federal Republic of Germany.

    The total length of the Autobahn network today is some 11,000 kilometers. Expansion is continuing today even though environmentalists have many concerns and would like to stop it. Germany's railroad system is an important mover of goods and people. Since its beginnings in the mid-19th century, it was owned and operated by the state.

  2. Data Processing Task. Mr Peters, the man who runs this particular Samsung store ...

    If three products are ordered and the total number of paintings ordered should be 3. The total number of instruments was correctly calculated to be 2 13 Database opens Does the database open when I click into it When I double click on my databae it should open straight away When I double clicked the database did open.

  1. ICT Spreadsheet System

    The problems of the data being entered are that, they have to complete a new form and this can be tedious, thus leading to more errors. Also, this paper-based method is very time consuming and become very boring, therefore making the employees demoralised in their duties.

  2. Before the system can be installed and used by hatch end cars it is ...

    A membership card should be printed for the member with the member ID 7 in the correct format as designed. Pass. None needed. 12 Member details query and Member details report. Normal data and integration testing. Click on Print Member Details in the Reports menu and enter '11' as the parameter.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work