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Proportional representation must not be replaced

The London Assembly called for the retention of Proportional Representation to elect Members of the London Assembly.

A Private Member’s Bill is seeking to replace the Additional Member System with First Past the Post. 

Assembly Members agreed a motion urging the Mayor to make representations to the Minister for the Constitution, to highlight the success of Proportional Representation in London.

Sian Berry AM, who proposed the motion said:

“London is one of the most diverse cities in the world and needs an Assembly that can speak up for all kinds of Londoners and represent their views.

All of us on the Assembly were voted in with a system of Proportional Representation and we properly reflect the range of parties Londoners cast their votes for. There’s no reason to change something that’s working so well.

People need to be able to vote for what they believe in and to believe their vote counts – and under Proportional Representation this happens. Moving to a First Past the Post system where voters are left trying to work out which parties can win, which ones are in the 'two horse race' and then going for the least bad option would be a real backwards step.”

Len Duvall AM, who seconded the motion said:

“This Private Members Bill is misguided and would have a detrimental effect on democracy in our capital.

When Londoners go to the ballot box to vote in the London Assembly elections, they can be sure that – regardless of whether their preferred candidate and party win in their immediate area – their vote will be reflected in the final result, and that they will be represented at City Hall.

Any changes to our system would need to make the Assembly an even more accurate reflection of the people it serves, and the Mayor should tell the Minister for the Constitution that.”

The full text of the Motion is:

“This Assembly notes that the Additional Member System of Proportional Representation (PR), which is used for elections to the London Assembly, provides fair representation to London’s diverse population. We acknowledge that PR ensures that political parties holding seats on the Assembly are broadly in proportion to the share of the vote that the people of London give them.

This Assembly believes this gives voice to the full range of public opinion and ensures that every vote matters; that the democratic legitimacy of the Assembly is thereby enhanced; that the ability of the Assembly to hold the Mayor to account is thereby strengthened; and, that the accountability of the Assembly Members to the voters is thereby improved.

This Assembly notes that a Private Member’s Bill is seeking to replace the Additional Member System with First Past the Post.

We believe that any such move to reduce or eliminate PR for Assembly elections would be detrimental to the interests of the voters, to the accountability of the Mayor and Assembly Members, and to the legitimacy of London’s democracy.

The Assembly therefore calls on the Mayor to make representations to the Minister for the Constitution, highlighting the success of Proportional Representation in London and the necessity that any changes made to elections must make the Assembly a better - rather than worse - reflection of the people it is elected to serve.”