Calls for new voting system in council elections rejected

Councillors in Northampton have rejected calls for a new voting system to be used when unitary authorities are formed in Northamptonshire.

Thursday, 13th September 2018, 10:06 am
Updated Thursday, 13th September 2018, 10:13 am
The motion called on a new voting system for the the unitary authorities that will be formed in 2020

A motion from Liberal Democrat councillors Brian Markham and Sally Beardsworth had called on Northampton Borough Council to write to the Secretary of State for communities and local government 'requesting that the election for the new unitary council be trialled under proportional representation using the Single Transferable Vote'.

The new unitary authorities are likely to be formed in 2020 to replace the current county and district/borough councils.

The current First Past The Post system sees voters pick their preferred candidate, and the candidate with the most votes is elected.

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The Single Transferable Vote (STV) suggested in the motion requires more candidates, and sees voters rank the candidates in order of preference. Once a councillor receives enough votes, those votes are then transferred onto the person's second-choice candidate. The process continues until all the seats have been filled.

The motion from the Lib Dem councillors states that this voting system 'will produce a result which more closely reflects the views of a diverse Northampton community'.

Councillor Markham said: "I've been voted in with as little as 35 percent of the vote, so although I'm a winner I'm also a loser because more people didn't vote for me."

But Conservative cabinet member Mike Hallam said that his party would not be backing the proposals, saying that a national referendum on alternative voting systems had been rejected by the country back in 2011.

Labour leader Danielle Stone said that her party would be supporting the 'status quo'.

The only other councillor to back the idea was independent councillor Julie Davenport, as the motion was lost during the meeting on Monday night (September 10).