A LibDem Perspective - The unfairness of our current electoral system

8 May 2024

An increasing number of people are becoming aware of the unfairness of our current electoral system. Infamously amongst Liberal Democrats, back in the 1987 General Election our 25.4% vote share yielded us just 22 MPs, while Labour with 27.6% of the votes had 229. In the current Parliament the SNP gained four times as many MPs as the LibDems with just one third of our votes. Other smaller parties fared even worse. So we have had to learn to focus our efforts on building up our strength in those areas we can win. Until such time as a party of government that has won under the current system is prepared to change it, all smaller parties will struggle to gain the representation their popular support deserves.

Liberal Democrats have an enviable reputation for implausible by-election successes, such as our recent wins in Somerton & Frome, Tiverton & Honiton, and North Shropshire, each with swings from the Conservatives of around 30%. Much less well known are our consistent gains at Council elections and by-elections. Over the past five years LibDems have had an unbroken record of net wins, gaining a total of 768 Councillors compared to 545 for Labour and a net loss of 1783 for the Conservatives. Over the past three years we have gained over 60 Councillors at individual by-elections, more net gains than all other parties combined.  At the recent elections we gained 104 Councillors and overtook the Conservatives. We also held on to all 10 Councils we already ran and gained control in Tunbridge Wells and Dorset.

Despite what the media might say we are not just a party of the South and South West. We fell one short of taking control of Stockport, we run Hull, and gained seats right across the country including Manchester, Gateshead and Preston. Due to our lack of union funding or millionaire donors, we have to concentrate our efforts in the areas we are targeting for the General Election. In those places we are strengthening our position and confident of making big gains.

Nor are we simply a ‘party of protest’. We have a full range of progressive policies including a strong desire to repair our broken relationships with Europe, robust environmental policies particularly on sustainable energy and cleaning up our rivers, and we want a fair deal for carers. Check our full range of policies onwww.libdems.org.uk.

I am not a great fan of the various publicity stunts staged by our leader, but they do at least get us some media coverage. Like much of the rest of the country, we just want the General Election to come as soon as possible. Please, let’s ‘make this government history’!


Cllr Kathryn Field

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