This new parliament provides a clear opportunity for electoral reform | Letters

Paul Maddrell says a Commons majority for proportional representation is possible; J Robin Hughes says the election exploded first past the post myths

Val McDermid calls for elections to the UK parliament to be conducted using the additional member system of proportional representation used for elections to the Scottish parliament (Reformation 2017, Review, 10 June).

I write in support of this call. There should be a majority in the House of Commons in favour of this reform. The Liberal Democrats, the Scottish National party, the Greens and Plaid Cymru all support it. The Labour Campaign for Electoral Reform has called for the Labour party to support it. Together these parties won 52.54% of the vote in the general election on 8 June. While its 2017 Westminster manifesto is silent on this, the Democratic Unionist party could be persuaded to support it since elections to the Northern Ireland assembly take place using the single transferable vote system of PR. Together the DUP and Conservative party won only 43.36% of the vote in the general election.

A private member’s bill should be introduced into the House of Commons immediately. Then the British people can vote again and get the government they actually voted for last Thursday.
Paul Maddrell
Loughborough University

• Former shadow chancellor Chris Leslie claims Labour missed an “open goal” (Labour should have won against May’s ‘open goal’, says MP,, 10 June), an odd interpretation given that eight weeks ago the team were still squabbling about what colour shirts to wear. Had Labour MPs truly supported Jeremy Corbyn after the second leadership vote, they might now be in government. Under first past the post (FPTP), only 110,000 votes – 0.34% of the national vote – in marginal constituencies would have given them a majority.

Labour’s 262 seats fairly reflect their 40% vote share, but the Conservatives have 42 more than their fair share of 276 seats. The myth that FPTP favours Labour is exploded, as is the idea that it produces stable one-party government. With proportional representation, parties opposed to austerity and favouring less confrontational EU negotiations would have a clear majority of both seats and votes, with widespread public support for moderate policies to benefit the many, and Labour would be the senior partner in government.

Now that Jeremy Corbyn has achieved a triumphant second place, he must not gamble, as Theresa May did, on perverse electoral arithmetic giving him an unearned majority next time. Will you campaign for Labour to support a fair voting system, so that after the next election we can see them at the front of a government that reflects the votes of the people?
J Robin Hughes
Worrall, South Yorkshire

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