A LibDem Perspective - A fairer distribution of Parliamentary power

6 Jul 2024

Whether you’ve woken up this morning to tears, fears, or cheers, the election is over, at last, and most of the results are in. We will all know whether the more extreme pollsters’ prognostications have proved correct, with a Labour ‘supermajority’ (that the Conservatives deem acceptable for themselves but not for others!) and even the highly improbable prospect of the Liberal Democrats as His Majesty’s Official Opposition!     

The likely outcome is that there will be a large Labour majority, a consequently greatly weakened Conservative Party, and LibDems regaining third place from the SNP. What is certain is that issues around Proportional Representation will now return to the fore. LibDems have reluctantly had to learn how to play the system, piling all our efforts into ‘winnable’ seats and hopefully ending up with the 50-70 MPs that would fairly reflect a 10-12% overall vote share. By contrast the combined Green/ Reform vote share of around 25% is unlikely to garner more than a dozen seats.

As ever the problem is that the Government will have won under the current rules and therefore wish to see them remain unchanged. Labour’s 40% (ish) vote share should under PR give them around 250 seats whereas ‘FPTP’ (First Past the Post) looks likely to give them almost double that. Much as I abhor everything that Reform stands for, in a truly representative democracy they should have over 100 MPs (although under PR voting patterns would undoubtedly be very different).

With turnouts expected to be down, it is thought quite likely that Labour will actually receive around 1 million fewer votes than the Conservatives had in 2019 but win 100 seats more!

Locally in the East Sussex seats things are looking much more interesting than usual. In 2019 with just over half the votes the Conservatives won all five of the non-Brighton seats. This year the pundits suggest that LibDems should have won in Lewes and Eastbourne, Labour in Hastings & Rye, with Bexhill & Battle and Sussex Weald a close call between Labour and Conservative. With Brighton & Hove likely to remain Labour/ Green this mix represents a much fairer distribution of Parliamentary power, unlikely to be matched anywhere else in the country.

It is a shame that our leader Sir Ed Davey has had to resort to a range of stunts to raise our Party’s profile but it has certainly gained more coverage than a grudging media would normally accord us. More importantly he has succeeded in raising the profile of our major manifesto issues, adult social care and wayward water companies, to a level that a new Government cannot ignore.

Whatever the outcome has been, and no matter what our own political preferences, we must all wish our new Government success in seeking to address the many problems that they inherit.

Cllr Kathryn Field

Cllr Kathryn Field with Ed Davey at Arena Pursuits in Flimwell
Cllr Kathryn Field with Ed Davey at Arena Pursuits in Flimwell

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