The Electoral System in the UK: Pros and Cons

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The electoral systems existing in the UK today are currently under scrutiny with a call for reform for the First Past The Post (FPTP) with the recent AV referendum, in which people voted NO against a reform to the current system. However, in this political climate where people accuse the FPTP system of bias, being wasteful and being disproportional, the system for electing Members of the European Parliament, the Closed List System (CLS) has also been under question. In this essay I will explore the faults and benefits of both systems and how they may be reformed. On one hand, the FPTP system of elections, used to choose members of the Westminster Parliament, has some advantages, firstly as it offers a stable government. As the system favours larger parties, shown by in 2010 the Tories getting only 36% of the votes get 47% of the seats, it is usually the case that a single party forms government, the exception ironically being the most recent election, however this is a rare occasion. This also allows for a stable opposition, as in the UK we have a largely two-party system, with two dominant parties Labour and the Conservatives – therefore if both parties get more seats than they would under a proportional system then a stable government and stable opposition can be achieved. Secondly, FPTP is a good system as it allows greater links between constituents and their representatives, as in the system constituency sizes are smaller therefore more people know the MP who will address their grievances. This is weakened however by Prime Minister David Cameron’s plans to reduce the number of MPs and therefore constituencies to 600, which will weaken this link, Also, FPTP is good fundamentally as it is simple, easy to count, quick and comparatively cheap. In the FPTP system, one only needs to tick the box of your one preferred candidate, unlike system such as STV where a voter must indicate preference between candidates. It is easy to count as a counter can clearly see...
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