Opinion polls suggest that people in the UK will reject a proposal to change the way members of parliament are elected.
At the moment the simple majority vote favours big parties. The junior partner in the coalition, the Liberal Democrats, want to adopt a system called AV, the Alternative Vote, which gives more chance to smaller parties by ranking voters’ preferences.
Nick Clegg MP, is the leader of the Liberal Democrats:
“If you want something that it’s a bit fairer, a bit better and makes all MPs of all parties work a bit harder for your votes then obviously vote yes”.
A referendum was a condition of the Lib Dems
for joining the Conservatives in a coalition. But Prime Minister David Cameron’s party will campaign for a “No” vote. This is what his Foreign Secretary William Hague had to say:
“AV means that not just the candidate who comes second can win. But under AV even the candidate who comes third can win and that is not what I call democracy.”
A referendum on the issue was pledged by the last Labour government but that promise was broken. Now the new leader, Ed Milliband, says he will vote in favour the AV system. But many Labour MP’s will choose to keep the present method of first-past-the-post.
Differing opinions on the issue have caused the most serious rift so far in the year-old coalition government.