Charley Jarrett – Conservative Action for Electoral Reform http://www.conservativeelectoralreform.org Founded in 1974 to campaign for a free market of ideas Wed, 21 Jun 2017 16:08:53 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.3 Canadian Conservative Guy Giorno on Proportional Representation http://www.conservativeelectoralreform.org/canadian-conservative-guy-giorno-proportional-representation/ Tue, 01 Nov 2016 17:51:00 +0000 http://www.conservativeelectoralreform.org/?p=605 The former chief of staff to Stephen Harper, and 2011 campaign chair of his successful re-election effort, Guy Giorno has been making the case for electoral reform in Canada.  

The post Canadian Conservative Guy Giorno on Proportional Representation appeared first on Conservative Action for Electoral Reform.

]]>
The former chief of staff to Stephen Harper, and 2011 campaign chair of his successful re-election effort, Guy Giorno has been making the case for electoral reform in Canada.

 

The post Canadian Conservative Guy Giorno on Proportional Representation appeared first on Conservative Action for Electoral Reform.

]]>
Conservative leadership election explained http://www.conservativeelectoralreform.org/conservative-leadership-election-explained/ http://www.conservativeelectoralreform.org/conservative-leadership-election-explained/#comments Tue, 05 Jul 2016 11:03:20 +0000 http://www.conservativeelectoralreform.org/?p=584 On Thursday at midday nominations closed for the Conservative Party leadership contest.  It’s been a week of high drama in politics – and many of you will have your views on the candidates (and those who aren’t candidates) – but how do Conservative Party leadership elections work? Unlike Labour leader contenders, who need 15% of the Parliamentary Labour Party, in …

The post Conservative leadership election explained appeared first on Conservative Action for Electoral Reform.

]]>
On Thursday at midday nominations closed for the Conservative Party leadership contest.  It’s been a week of high drama in politics – and many of you will have your views on the candidates (and those who aren’t candidates) – but how do Conservative Party leadership elections work?

Unlike Labour leader contenders, who need 15% of the Parliamentary Labour Party, in the Conservatives candidates need only be nominated by a proposer and a seconder. These nominations are public. (ConservativeHome and Guido Fawkes are publishing up-to-date online lists of who the candidates’ supporters are amongst other MPs.) This time ‘round, five candidates were duly nominated before the deadline, Stephen Crabb, Liam Fox, Michael Gove, Andrea Leadsome and Theresa May.

According to the timetable outlined by the 1922 Committee (the Conservative backbench committee), Tory MPs will vote this evening for which candidate they would most like to be leader.  The candidate with the fewest votes will be eliminated.  They are then free – if they so wish – to urge their supporters to back another candidate.  On Thursday, the process is repeated with the remaining four.

Penultimately, on Tuesday 12th July, Conservative MPs will vote amongst themselves for the last time.  The two candidates with the highest vote will then be featured on a ballot paper to be printed and posted to roughly 130,000 Conservative Party members.  The likely deadline for this is 8th September, with the results, and hence the new prime minister, announced the following day – leaving a little under two months for the top two to set out their case to party members and the public.

The system is ripe for intrigue and tactical voting. Given the two electorates, Conservative Party MPs may feel inclined to attempt to shape the members’ ballot on the basis of how they expect members to react to the two candidates on the ballot. For instance, in 2001, there is evidence that supporters of Iain Duncan Smith tactically voted for Ken Clarke in order to knock Michael Portillo off the ballot, feeling (rightly) that the members would reject Clarke’s Europhile views. MPs could also pretend to support a candidate to generate a false sense of security and encourage their supporters to misjudge their tactical votes. This is perhaps a disadvantage when compared to a system where rankings occur on a single ballot, as in the Alternative Vote system, where voters have less chance to mull on the results of each round and predict which way their colleagues votes will split.

Although it features different electorates, the electoral system is a little like France’s two-round system combined with the Alternative Vote.  (The Conservatives use a similar system when selecting candidates.)  Moderately humorous, considering most Conservatives were so vociferously opposed to AV (a system which would have seen our majority increase by eight in 2015!).

The post Conservative leadership election explained appeared first on Conservative Action for Electoral Reform.

]]>
http://www.conservativeelectoralreform.org/conservative-leadership-election-explained/feed/ 1
PR for local councils could save £2.6 billion a year http://www.conservativeelectoralreform.org/pr-local-councils-save-2-6-billion-year/ http://www.conservativeelectoralreform.org/pr-local-councils-save-2-6-billion-year/#comments Thu, 18 Feb 2016 16:21:45 +0000 http://www.conservativeelectoralreform.org/?p=512 I have two interests to declare: I have been a Conservative Party member for a little over a decade and I work for the Electoral Reform Society. This sometimes raises eyebrows. However – to coin a phrase – I don’t support electoral reform despite being a Conservative, I support it because I am a Conservative. A new report, showing how …

The post PR for local councils could save £2.6 billion a year appeared first on Conservative Action for Electoral Reform.

]]>
I have two interests to declare: I have been a Conservative Party member for a little over a decade and I work for the Electoral Reform Society. This sometimes raises eyebrows. However – to coin a phrase – I don’t support electoral reform despite being a Conservative, I support it because I am a Conservative. A new report, showing how local council reform could save the taxpayer £2.6 billion per year, has added to my list of reasons.

I was born in Southwark and live in Lambeth. It is frustrating that after each election my only vote that helps secure a Conservative representative is that for the London-wide List of Assembly Members or for the Mayor. Indeed, these frustrations are felt even more acutely by Conservatives throughout much of the urban North. We live in Labour wards in Labour-run councils and after each general election we are surrounded by a sea of Red.

In Manchester and Newham in 2014, the Conservatives got 8% and 22% of the votes and 0 councillors. Labour did well by getting 57% and 60% of the votes – but that doesn’t really warrant taking 100% of the seats. If 20% of voters in a local area are Conservatives then about 20% of their councillors should be Conservative – certainly, they should have more than 0!

Further powers are soon to be devolved to combined authorities in the Labour-run North – to be wielded, in all likelihood, by Labour metro-mayors. With Labour priorities and policies. Scrutinised by Labour councillors. As Conservatives, surely we should want to see Tory voters represented by Tory councillors, fighting for decision-making and spending to be conducted with Tory responsibility.

On Sunday at Party Conference, the Society launched a new report written by Cambridge academic Dr Mihály Fazekas for the ERS. In it, he finds that undersized oppositions on councils are bad for fiscal restraint regardless of which party is being kept out of the town hall.

As I have written elsewhere, over 100 councils in England currently have two-thirds or more of their councillors from one party, who are able to rush through decisions and amend standing orders with little if any scrutiny or opposition. Between 2011 and 2014, there were 382 uncontested elections in wards. In contrast, since STV was introduced in 2007 for Scottish local elections, not a single council is now a ‘one-party state’, and not a single ward has gone uncontested (compared to dozens before).

In The Cost of One-Party Councils, Fazekas’ research suggests £2.6 billion could be saved each year if there were no uncontested wards and councils had decent-sized, democratically representative, oppositions. If greater spending power is to be devolved to combined authorities, it is difficult to see this figure improving without an improvement in the electoral system. As in Scotland, Wales and London – the precedent is that the devolution of powers from Westminster to elsewhere has always gone hand-in-hand with a move to a more proportional voting system.

At the Society, we favour the Single Transferable Vote. Invented by Victorian polymath and Conservative lawyer Thomas Hare, the system retains the constituency link and is based on candidates rather than party lists. Voters are represented by a team of councillors (as is presently the case in many councils’ multi-member wards). Conservatives would still control many of the councils we currently dominate, despite some loss of seats. In exchange, Conservative voters in Inner London, the urban North and other Labour hotbeds would be rewarded with the Conservative Councillors for whom they voted – benefitting both our activist base and the public purse.

Dan Hannan and Peter Oborne are amongst those reviving the right-of-centre movement for a more proportional voting system. This report further proves the case for being a Conservative and a supporter of electoral reform.

The post PR for local councils could save £2.6 billion a year appeared first on Conservative Action for Electoral Reform.

]]>
http://www.conservativeelectoralreform.org/pr-local-councils-save-2-6-billion-year/feed/ 1