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

Would British Political Parties Benefit From A Different Electoral System?

Extracts from this document...


Would British Political Parties Benefit From A Different Electoral System? In Britain, elections to the House of Commons are decided through a simple majority system, commonly referred to as 'first-past-the-post' or FPTP. The system has its benefits, as it usually produces quick and clear results and a strong majority government. Moreover, it provides constituents with a strong link to their MP, enabling them to bring forward and discuss the interests of their community. However, there are strong arguments against FPTP. Firstly, it frequently produces disproportionate results between actual support for the party and the seats they win in parliament. Secondly, the nature of the system makes it difficult for smaller parties with dispersed support to gain high levels of representation, rendering it virtually impossible for them to participate in government. These deficiencies have led to the question of how democratic the system really is, which has resulted in electoral reform becoming a debatable political issue. There are many different alternatives to FPTP, most of which are far more proportionally representative. ...read more.


Furthermore, tactical voting would no longer be needed and wasted votes would be reduced. As for the problem of extremist parties, CAER suggests that raising the percentage of the minimum votes required would manage to regulate the minorities. After the past eleven years in office it could be said that the Labour party has done well under FPTP. Before the 1997 election, however, possibly due to doubts over whether they would win under FPTP, Labour promised a referendum on electoral reform and established an independent body - the Jenkins Commission - to look for a PR based alternative (. The commission considered STV but later scrapped the idea, on the basis that constituencies would be excessively large, the electorate would have too wide a choice of candidates and that counting the results would be a complex and slow process. Instead, the commission suggested AV+, a combination of the Alternative Vote and a form of open Party List. AV+ would provide much greater proportionality without requiring major changes in the system. ...read more.


However, it would appear that none of the discussed systems can guarantee all of these elements; the choice of any given system is always less than perfect. For parties such as the Liberal Democrats, UKIP, the Greens and others smaller still, the main concern is to gain greater political representation. Some of the systems they advocate do provide some of these elements. For parties who do well under FPTP, such as Labour and the Conservatives, the issue is understandably of less immediate importance. Since 1997 there has been major electoral reform in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the European Parliament and the London Mayoral electoral systems. The introduction of alternative systems in these places has yielded positive, democratic results which have already modified the political landscape. In part thanks to these results and in part owing to pressure from the minor parties and various interest groups, perhaps electoral reform will be considered more seriously by the dominating parties in the near future. ...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 United Kingdom 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 United Kingdom essays

  1. Electoral Systems Assignment

    AMS is thought of something of a compromise; it is designed to ensure that the electoral system is partly proportional without losing the benefits of having one MP per constituency. In effect, AMS both preserves the idea of constituency representation but produces a much more proportional vote than a simple majority system such as 'first past the post'.

  2. Electoral Systems.

    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. * It removes the need for negative voting.

  1. 'Britain is in desperate need of electoral reform. The FPTP system is undemocratic.' Discuss.

    Londonderry is a mainly Catholic town, but the large Catholic area is only one constituency, whereas the smaller Protestant area has been split into three constituencies to give the Protestants more seats in Parliament. In Scotland and Wales, they have an average of 14,000 less voters in their constituencies than

  2. What is the main reason for the loss of faith and interest in our ...

    for the legislation it puts through parliament and presents for debate, but also, and more prominently perhaps, for the scandal and negative behaviour of ministers and members of parliament both in the executive and in the opposition, it is no wonder that the general consensus is that the people of

  1. To what extent have governments and political parties agreed on how best to raise ...

    Lib Dems however propose slimmer versions of national testing consequently reducing pressure for both pupils and staff. They too would scrap the 600 page national curriculum to about 20 pages. Alternatively, the Conservatives have announced to scrap key stage 2 SATS but introduce a reading test which children undertake 2 years after primary to ensure their reading is fluent.

  2. Democracy and the British Voting System.

    Suggest ways, other than electoral reform, as to how democracy in the UK can be improved (25) Over many decades there have been several suggestions regarding how to improve democracy in the UK. There have been lots of proposals, including electoral reform to make us better represented, and there are many more.

  1. Should Britain reform its electoral system for general elections?

    The danger for parties with geographically evenly distributed support is that they come second or third in elections almost everywhere, picking up very few or perhaps no seats. This is why the electoral system should be reformed. The electoral system should also be reformed because of electoral fairness.

  2. The case Against Electoral Reform

    It?s flexible thus enabling greater proportionality and the maintenance of the MP/constituency link, guarantees an increase in voter choice and stability of the government .Its gold and seems like the ideal system to go into. But it isn?t- it would create two categories or classes of MPs, as it involves

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