To What Extent Is the Westminster Electoral System in Need of Reform?

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To what extent is the Westminster electoral system in need of reform? The current system used in the UK general elections is the First Past the Post electoral system. It is a simple plurality system- meaning a candidate only needs one more vote than his/her opponent in order to win a constituency seat in a single member constituency. Although the First Past the Post system has a strong constituency link and nearly always produces a majority government which means a strong government, its negatives include many wasted votes and a lack of clear representation. This is why some argue that the current Westminster electoral system is in desperate need of reform. There are many arguments in favour of reforming the current First Past the Post electoral system to a more proportional system, such as the Single Transferable Vote, the Closed Party List System, and the Additional Member System. This is also known as electoral fairness. Supporters of Proportional Representation argue that a party’s strength should reflect the support it has in the country- which is essential to a democracy. The current First Past the Post system leads to an unfair system of representation. For example, in the 2010 general elections, although the Conservative party gained 36% of the vote they ended up receiving 47% of the seats in the House of Commons. For this reason, smaller parties such as the Liberal Democrats do the worse out of this system. In the same elections, although they gained 23% of the vote they only got 9% of the seats. This is one reason that the Westminster electoral system is in need of reform- proportional systems deliver a much more representable result which is more democratic and means that all votes have the same value. Another argument in favour of reforming the Westminster Electoral system is that it would create a fairer, multiparty system. Minor parties
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