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This has led to complacency, as we saw with the expenses scandal last year.
We will finally be given our say in the referendum on 5th May 2011. The proposed Alternative Vote ("AV") method of electing MPs builds on the strengths of the current system while eliminating many of its weaknesses.
Politicians will be forced to work harder to earn and keep our support. People will at last be able to vote for what they really want.
We'll be fighting to secure a 'Yes' vote and you can be part of it.
Sign up to Yes for a fairer voting system  
Please click here to sign up
and say YES! to fairer votes
Summer Reading List on proportional representation systems July 2010
In advance of the proposed referendum on reform of the electoral system for the House of Commons – between First Past the Post (FPTP) and the Alternative Vote (AV) system – the result of the Coalition Agreement between the Conservative and Liberal Democrat leadership in May, this bibliography has been compiled to illustrate the different electoral systems. Most documents are available online. It is not exhaustive.
Douglas Carswell reveals the Tory MPs who would have lost out under AV and those whose majorities would have been questionnable:
Spectator attacks MP defending FPTP:
MEP and Vice President of the European Parliament, Edward McMillan-Scott, argues for STV but is prepared to back AV.  Boris has also come on board:
CAER survey on support for AV, FPTP or STV
We would like you to take part in the CAER survey to ascertain your views on the proposed referendum on electoral reform.
This is your chance to say whether you support AV, FPTP, other system and whether you believe a referendum should be held at his time.  Please click on the link below:
 http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/VGZCF9S Click here to take survey
How AV and STV results might have looked at this election
How the AV system works

Dan Hannan's usual sensible take on electoral reform, backs STV for electing MPs:

Click here to read more..

Press release

2nd February 2010

Gordon Brown’s deathbed conversion to electoral reform will not resonate with the voters

Conservative Action for Electoral Reform (CAER) does not welcome the Government’s move towards electoral reform under the Alternative Vote system.(Read more)

Spring Forum

Dr Tim Bale, speaker at the spring forum, considers a hung Parliament and the history of the Conservative Party


Get involved with Power2010

CAER is supporting Power2010, a new campaign which looks at real, substantive change that politicians can sign up to before the next General Election.

They have had 14,000 submissions so far including groups from the centre-right which have come together to support them.  From the Countryside Alliance, to the Tory Reform Group to the Taxpayers' Alliance.

It's easy to be cynical about 'better government' campaigns. Little ever seems to change, and the only interests that appear to matter are those of the political elite. Why would those in power want to change a system that they control?

But, campaigns can make waves, forcing items up the agenda. Writing off the potential impact of political groups really would doom us to the vested interests. People have to get involved, shout a little, embrace the notion of "populism". After all, this is supposed to be a democracy.

Therefore I encourage you to visit the website of Power2010 - www.power2010.org.uk - a new campaign (sponsored by the Joseph Rowntree Trust) which looks to force real, substantive change onto the agenda before next year's general election. Changes to the way we select candidates for the House of Commons, hold our representatives to account, effect the legislative process. Changes to the UK's relationship with Europe, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It's an opportunity for you to push for those changes that you think important.

The idea of Power2010 is to get you to contribute your ideas though, and while we would appreciate your support for our suggestions when it comes to the vote, what is more important is that you get involved, showing your support to whichever ideas you most believe in. We will be supporting many of the ideas already put forward. Here's the website once more - www.power2010.org.uk/home

You can read their submissions here:

The Taxpayers' Alliance


The Countryside Alliance


TRG submission:

CAER, in collaboration with Power 2010 http://www.power2010.org.uk/votes/, have published the results of the initial consultation where 10,000 people took part in a consultation exercise to change the face of politics.

10,000 people consulted

4,500 suggestions were submitted

Now they need you to decide the 5 ideas that should be submitted

The centre right of politics have been taking part:


The Countryside Alliance. The Taxpayers' Alliance. Conservative Action for Electoral Reform. Tory Reform Group.    Have your say by logging onto http://www.power2010.org.uk/votes

The next step is to vote.


Then we will put the ideas to the candidates standing at the General Election 1926

Introduce a proportional voting system

vote idea image

Ensure each party's share of seats in Parliament reflects the proportion of votes it receives.

  • 1349

Scrap ID cards and roll back the database state

vote idea image

Drop the National ID scheme and limit or scrap other databases that infringe civil rights

  • 1037

Fixed term parliaments

vote idea image

Take the power to call an election out of the hands of the Prime Minister so that elections are at fixed dates.

  • 1016

A Written Constitution

vote idea image

Draw up a written constitution for the UK which sets out where power lies and the rights we have as citizens.

  • 972

English votes on English laws

vote idea image

Forbid Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs from voting on matters that affect only England.

  • 666

A fully elected second chamber

vote idea image

Replace the House of Lords with a chamber elected directly by the people.

  • 591

Right to recall

vote idea image

Allow constituents to recall their MP and force a by-election if a petition attracts enough support.

  • 548

Expand the Freedom of Information Act

vote idea image

Extend the right of access members of the public have to official information.

  • 508

“None of the Above” on ballot papers

vote idea image

Give voters the option of showing their discontent with the choices available at the election by voting “None of the Above”.

  • 496

Reduce the use of statutory instruments

vote idea image

Prevent the government creating new laws in a way which bypasses Parliament.

Fixed term parliaments

vote idea image

1037 Votes

Take the power to call an election out of the hands of the Prime Minister so that elections are at fixed dates.

Expand the Freedom of Information Act

vote idea image

548 Votes

Extend the right of access members of the public have to official information.

“None of the Above” on ballot papers

vote idea image

508 Votes

Give voters the option of showing their discontent with the choices available at the election by voting “None of the Above”.

Stop “revolving door” politics

vote idea image

195 Votes

Reduce corruption by banning former MPs from taking jobs which relate to their work in Parliament.

No former MPs to the House of Lords

vote idea image

105 Votes

Prevent former MPs from taking a place in the House of Lords.

A second chamber of different sectors

vote idea image

148 Votes

Replace the House of Lords with a chamber elected to represent different sectors of society.

Hold elections on a weekend

vote idea image

160 Votes

Change the day elections are held from a Thursday to a weekend making it easier and more convenient for people to vote.

Require parties to be internally democratic

vote idea image

132 Votes

Open up political parties and give more power to ordinary members.

Stronger local government

vote idea image

483 Votes

Give greater decision making and taxation powers to local government.

Reduce the use of statutory instruments

vote idea image

496 Votes

Prevent the government creating new laws in a way which bypasses Parliament.

Public consultation through a deliberative process

vote idea image

250 Votes

Require government to consult on controversial matters through a process of public discussion and debate.

Bill of Rights

vote idea image

169 Votes

Introduce a new and stronger bill of rights through a process of meaningful public consultation and participation.

Strengthen select committees

vote idea image

396 Votes

Give select committees in Parliament more power to scrutinise legislation and hold government to account.

Right to recall

vote idea image

591 Votes

Allow constituents to recall their MP and force a by-election if a petition attracts enough support.

Votes at 16

vote idea image

213 Votes

Lower the voting age in the UK from 18 years old to 16.

Give MPs control of the parliamentary timetable

vote idea image

136 Votes

Take control of the parliamentary timetable away from government and put it in the hands of MPs.

CAER joined David Cameron and a packed hall to welcome the birth of the new centre-right think tank ReSpublica, launched by Phillip Blond, one of the brightest thinkers in politics.

CAER is putting together a package of proposals to work with ReSpublica and will report back shortly. Collaboration could include the voting system for civic society - elected mayors, police commissioners, reforming EU voting systems, the Lords and right of recall.

Grade Gordon Brown

Please click on an image to find out more information.

CAER's main event at the Conservative Party conference was based on the TV programme, Dragons' Den and asked a number of the brightest thinkers in the Party to pitch their democracy ideas to an influential panel including Eleanor Laing MP, shadow justice minister and .

Chaired by ConservativeHome's Jonathan Isaby, the room had standing room only with people being turned away at the door, the panel questionned each pitcher on their ideas and then the audience voted for their top three favourites which will be put to a wider audience at a later date.

CAER was also joined by Phillip Blond, the 'Red Tory' and director of the new 'Cameroon' think tank, Respublica, and will be joining forces for further events.

Sadly, Phillip's idea of a Lords formed of civic society was not popular with the overall winners being:

1st Douglas Carswell MP - Open Primaries for all candidates

2nd Oilver Rowlinson - In or Out of Europe vote

3rd John Strafford - Open Democracy of one member one vote in political parties

Thank you to all those who took part, namely:

Graeme Archer, John Moss, Jack Perschke, Mark Wallace of the Taxpayers's Alliance (4th place), Dr Ken Ritchie, Lewis Baston, Jonathan Isaby, Keith Best, Eleanor Laing MP, Douglas Carswell MP, , Peter Facey, Havard Hughes, Oliver Rowlinson, John Strafford, Sabah Hussein, Blaise Matthews and Susie Proctor.

Comments from our Dragons

Thank you Janice and thank you also for choosing me to take part in the Den. It was my favourite fringe of the conference -- we need a lot more interactivity like that. Too many fringe meetings are just a group of people speaking at an audience. They bore me rigid!

Graeme Archer, pitcher


Well done.   I thought it was one of the best fringe events.   You will need a bigger room next time.


John Strafford, Conservative Campaign for Democracy

It was good fun.

John Moss, pitcher

It was good to meet you on Wednesday. Congratulations again for putting together such a great session.


Guy Aitchison, Open Democracy and Power2010


Congratulations on organising an excellent event.

Lewis Baston, author ‘The Political Map of Britain’

The All Party Parliamentary Group on electoral reform welcomes new member, Douglas Carswell MP. And he doesn’t disappoint in taking his duties seriously:

The newest member of the APPG on electoral reform earns his stripes


CAER also welcomes the appointment of Sir George Young as Leader of the House.

Herewith a link to Conservative Home featuring the news that George Young has now replaced Alan “rations” Duncan.

Sir George Young was a signatory to a cross party report which recommended STV for the Lords.  If it really is the case that he will be still in place at the other side of a general election this could be interesting for future Lords reform. 


Manchester 2009 Conference Events:

This year's www.conservativeelectoralreform.org (CAER) event has a Dragons' Den Democracy theme, loosely based on the TV programme and we are inviting ConHome readers to take part.

Last year's 'Have I Got Seats for You', (also loosely based on the TV programme), included a star line up with two teams testing their knowledge on constitutional matters, electoral reform, international politics and history. 

This year, with the MPs' expenses debacle and the all-party view that Parliament needs to be cleaned up, with the threat of constitutional change being thrust upon us by a desperate Prime Minister, CAER will be staging one of its memorable and fun fringes challenging the status quo of our democracy.

MPs, journalists and activists will pitch their ideas to a panel of constitutional affairs experts and judged by the panel and audience, concentrating on Parliament, the EU and Lords Reform.

ConHome pitchers should outline their ideas in no more than 400 words with the following three titles: Reform of the Lords, Reform of the EU, Reform of Parliament. The best will be chosen to pitch to our panel of experts. Please ensure that you have a conference pass for the secure area and are available on the event day.

Please send your entries to:


Dragons and pitchers include:

Eleanor Laing MP, shadow justice minister

Matthew Elliott, The Taxpayers' Alliance

Peter Facey, Unlock Democracy, 

Anthony Barnett, Our Kingdom,

Jonathan Isaby, ConHome

Philip Blond, the 'Red Tory', Respublica

John Strafford, Conservative Campaign for Democracy

Douglas Carswell MP, author of The Plan and autumn Bill for Open Primaries

Michael White of The Guardian

Dr Ken Ritchie, CE Electoral Reform Society

Lewis Baston, joint author of The Political Map of Britain

Oliver Rowlinson, Member UK Youth Parliament

Donal Blaney, Young Britons’ Foundation

Event details:

Date:           Wednesday, 7th October
Time:          12-30-2pm
Venue:        Manchester Central, Exchange Room 2 (secure area)

CAER hosted a debate in Parliament with the Bow Group's Annersley Abercorn, Douglas Carswell MP, Havard Hughes from the ERS, and Islington Conservatives's Neil Lindsay.

The debate centred on how the Conservatives can win back the City centres, the City Seats Initiative where a group of 20 candidates are grouped together to campaign and Multi Member Constituencies.

CAER hosted its packed annual event at the Conservative Spring Forum 09 - Will a Conservative Government keep PR for the Euro Elections?
Speakers included Edward McMillan-Scott MEP
Peter Facey, director of Unlock Democracy
Havard Hughes, campaigns director for the Electoral Reform Society

Post forum, Edward posted the following on www.conservativehome.com, the most influential of the centre-right blogs:


CAER exists to question the voting systems in our devolved legislatures and recommends the single transferable vote (STV) as it is widely recognised as the fairest and most proportionate system of voting. CAER also back STV for Lords Reform, as recommed by a 2005 cross-party Bill on Lords Reform, including signatories such as William Hague, Ken Clark and George Young.
The UK devolved legislatures have a number of voting systems which confuse the voter.  There are three different voting systems in Scotland, two in the London Assembly & Mayoral contest, and two in the Welsh Assembly and local government and the D'Hondt system in electing our MEPs
An election that does not have ‘safe’ or ‘marginal’ seats, where former ‘safe’ seat MPs have to work to get elected, where money wasn’t poured into target seats, where MPs are directly accountable to the electorate rather than the party hierarchy, an end to tactical voting and an outcome that broadly represents the balance of opinion in the country?
A resurgent Conservative Party in the north of England and increased representation in Scotland and Wales. A system that rewards MPs for hard work, relaxes some of the constraints on MPs from the whips and the national party line, so that they can develop their own profiles as local champions and their own lines of thought on policy issues.A system that gives the voter a direct link and feels engaged where some usually have a feeling of being neglected and voiceless, of being taken for granted by the system and not having a real choice, that breeds apathy and votes for extremism. The BNP comes along and some voters feel that it is the first party that could be bothered to engage with them. In areas where mainstream political competition is healthy, there is no vacuum for the BNP. 


No, it could become a reality and it is not just the Cameron factor and one more push that will help us but electoral reform that will deliver the above.And it is already happening in Britain.

Democracy for Britain.

We already have electoral reform in Northern Ireland, in the EU through the election of MEPs, the London Mayoralty and now Lords Reform.We already have it so let’s exploit it to our advantage. However, the English have been denied a say on their voting system.

Reform is bad for Labour.

Reform is about giving voters a choice of candidates and fair representation for their views and fair to parties and candidates. The idea of ‘safe seats’ and ‘marginal seats’ is central to campaigning in the First Past the Post (FPTP) elections. Under reform this would change.  The bias in the electoral system currently favours Labour but boundary determination is only a small factor in generating bias, and the more powerful reasons – differential turnout and the distribution of the vote – that are mostly responsible.


CAER’s preferred choice of system is STV, the Single Transferable Vote.Yes, it is a form of proportional representation, but the fairest form of PR.

STV was used in the Scottish local elections in May 2007 and having visited our colleagues in Scotland, they are very pragmatic about its introduction and recognised that although they are in principle against STV, they concentrated their efforts on the opportunities. 

PR in Wales

Our Welsh colleagues are considering using PR to their advantage.Again, pragmatism at work.We will have to wait for a few years into the system to see whether the electorate are happy that they have got what and who they voted for; that will only be known when the parties come to re-select or de-select before the next elections or, indeed, when some are re-elected.