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Politics - The system for electing MPs to the House of Commons is called First-Past-The-Post.

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Introduction

James Collinson L6 12 Politics Homework 1. The system for electing MPs to the House of Commons is called First-Past-The-Post. The country is split into 659 constituencies each of which is represented by a Member of Parliament or an MP. Each person in the UK gets one vote, which they use to choose which candidate will represent their constituency in parliament. In order to vote you simply put an 'X' next to the name of the candidate you support. The candidate with the most votes wins, regardless of whether he or she has more than 50% support or a majority. Once members have been individually elected, the party with the most seats in Parliament, regardless of whether or not it has a majority across the country normally becomes the next government. This system ensures means that the person with the most seats gets into power. 2. The turnout for the 2001 general election was a record low. Just 59.4% of those eligible to vote actually voted. This is lower than 1974 when there were two elections in one year. ...read more.

Middle

This is because he knows that if he changes the system to proportional representation he will not be the Prime Minister as he would need 50% of the vote and at the present time he has 41.4%. Scotland and Wales have what is known as the Additional Member System (AMS). These two have changed or have been set up like this because it is thought to be a more modern way of voting and a much fairer way i.e. the person with the most votes has the most seats. Our system of voting - first past the post - is quite unfair. For example the Liberal Democrats get around 20% of the vote but only get 7.6% of the seats in the Commons. In Scotland the voting system changed as it was thought that if the first past the post system was used Labour would have a massive majority in the Scottish Parliament and the conservatives would have no seats at all even though they had a percentage of the vote. Another reason pressure has increased is because New Labour promised it in their manifesto. ...read more.

Conclusion

In 1997 47.1% of British MPs were elected by less then 50% of the votes in their constituencies. In 1992, 40.1% of MPs were not supported by as many as 50% of their constituents. But as a result of this it is very hard for laws to get passed as there are many parties each with a share of the seats and none of them have a majority often. It also does not give the smaller parties anymore seats than they would usually get and they will still not have enough seats to get their points across. But on the other hand this is a good thing as it is unlikely that extremist parties e.g. BNP will get enough seats to make their voice heard. There are good and bad points to PR and in my opinion it is unlikely to happen in the near future as there are more pressing matters needing to be addressed by the Labour government for example - Iraq, Health and Education. It also suits them if not many people vote because they seem to be winning now so why should they change. Although they believe in change they now seem to be taking all the steps the conservatives did on their policy of "If it ain't broke, don't change it". ...read more.

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