First-Past-The-Post (Simple Majority) How the System works: The current system of electing MPs to the House of Commons is called First-Past-The-Post. There are 646 separate constituencies across the UK each electing one single Member of Parliament. In order to vote you simply put an ‘X’ next to the name of the candidate you support. The candidate who gets the most votes wins, regardless of whether he or she has more than 50% support. Once members have been individually elected, the party with the most seats in Parliament, regardless of whether or not it has a majority across the country, normally becomes the next government. The system is used for elections to the House of Commons and local elections in the UK an USA, Canada and India. Arguments used in favour: • It is simple to understand.
• The voter can express a view on which party should form the next government.
• It tends to lead to a two-party system. The system tends to produce single party governments, which are strong enough to create legislation and tackle the country’s problems, without relying on the support of any other party.
• It provides a close link between the MP an their constituency.
• The system represents the views of the people, as the candidate with the greatest support wins through a fair process.
• The UK’s democracy is one of the strongest in the world, it works and – since no system is perfect – why should we go through the massive overhaul of changing? Weaknesses: • Only one MP is elected in each constituency, so all the voters who did not vote for him or her are not represented. Their votes do not help elect anybody and so are wasted, they could have stayed a home and the result would not have been altered. Some argue that this causes low turnout; for example, in 2005 more people did not turn up to vote than