Tories Undermining the Fairness of our Elections

The Governments’ illiberal new Election Bill introduces a raft of changes to the rules of elections that will make them less accessible, less independent and less fair. The changes only benefit one party – the Conservatives.

As Liberal Democrats we believe our elections should be independently-run, free, fair and accessible to all those who wish to vote. As a party we have long campaigned for a more proportional voting system, one where all votes are important - not just those in a few select marginal constituencies!

Naturally the Conservatives want to stick to First Past the Post (FPTP), where they can win 44% of the votes and have 100% of the power like they did in 2019 - they know that in a  proportional voting system they will lose seats and have to work harder for constituents to maintain them.   Shockingly Labour also just voted against a proportional representation at their conference this October.

The Conservatives are going even further to protect their minority rule  - their Elections Bill is nothing less than a power grab designed to tilt the playing field in their favour further.

The new bill introduces a raft of changes, including:

  • Mandatory Voter photo ID (as trialled here in Bromley, to combat virtually non-existent electoral fraud - in the trials, hundreds of voters were turned away)
  • Ministerial influence over the strategy and policy of the Electoral Commission (the first time ministers will be able to influence the independent body which runs our elections)
  • Allowing long-term expats to vote and donate, even when they’ve lived abroad for over 15 years (the Conservatives’ biggest donor at the 2019 election, the theatre producer John Gore (who gave 1.5m), is based in the Bahamas)
  • The First-Past-The-Post voting system will be required in mayoral and Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections (scrapping the fairer and more proportional system used currently and meaning a split of the progressive vote will strongly advantage the Conservatives).
  • New rules for third party campaigners (which may inhibit the ability of Unions to donate to Labour)

You can see from this list why we think the Elections Bill is about the Tories tilting the playing field in their favour and little to do with improving the fairness of our elections. All the while, potential foreign interference in our elections is not a priority for the Government (who do no want to shut of their tap of foreign donors) – it is not addressed in the Elections Bill when it clearly should be. 

A democracy is not dismantled in a day, it is slowly and quietly chipped away at.  The Liberal Democrats are at the forefront of protecting our democracy and ensuring it is fair for all – we will continue to lead that fight and will oppose this unfair Elections Bill at every opportunity and in every possible way.

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