Uncategorized Australian-born leader of UK Greens blasts British voting system

Australian-born leader of UK Greens blasts British voting system

UK Green party leader Natalie Bennett has called for first past the post voting to be scrapped.
UK Green party leader Natalie Bennett has called for first past the post voting to be scrapped.

Natalie Bennett, the Australian-born leader of the UK Green party, has given a scathing critique of the British electoral system after her party secured just one seat in Westminster despite winning more than a million votes nationally.

Speaking after the general election won by the conservative party, Bennett said Britain needed to scrap first past the post voting – where the candidate can be elected on less than 50% of the vote – and introduce a preferential system like Austra

“We have a deeply unfair electoral system [in Britain],” Bennett told the BBC.

“What we need, and what I suspect we’ll see, is a huge public campaign. The Green party, if we did have a proportional system, would have 25 seats.”

Bennett, who was born and educated in Sydney, acknowledged it would be tough to convince the major parties to support reform that diminished their own power and was like “getting the turkeys to vote for Christmas”.

A referendum on introducing a form of preferential voting to Britain was defeated in 2011.

But Bennett said change was needed because the first past the post system resulted in a third of British voters not voting in 2015 because they felt they could not make a difference.

The Greens won 3.8% of the vote on Thursday compared with 1% in 2010.

But even with 1.16m ballots the Greens still only retained former leader Caroline Lucas’s seat of Brighton Pavilion.

By contrast the Scottish National party secured 4.7% (1.45m) but because they were concentrated in Scotland won 56 seats in Westminster.

The UK Independence party (Ukip) sits at the opposite end of the political spectrum to the Greens but is also calling for first past the post to be scrapped.

Nigel Farage quit as leader of Ukip – at least temporarily – after failing to win a seat on Thursday but as he departed he labelled the current system an affront to democracy.

Ukip secured 12.6% of the vote nationwide (3.88m) but, like the Greens, has just one seat in the new parliament.

“We gained nearly as many votes as the SNP, the Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru added up together,” Farage wrote in the Independent newspaper.

“But only one Ukip MP has been returned to the House of Commons – a situation which most reasonable people would realise highlights the flawed nature of Britain’s electoral system.”

Analysts suggested under a proportional system Ukip would have won 83 seats in Thursday’s poll.

The influence of antipodeans on the UK election was seen at both ends of the political spectrum: while the Greens under Bennett had a dismal showing, the Australian campaign strategist Lynton Crosby orchestrated the conservatives’ success.

Previous articleMan confesses on Facebook to killing his wife, daughter and sister
Next articleUEFA announces financial fair play penalties