The Liberal Democrats claim a real election would be taking place in Lichfield and Burntwood is proportional representation was introduced.

The system is based loosely on the party list system, where seats are allocated in proportion to their national share of the vote.

Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate Paul Ray faces a difficult challenge against Conservative Michael Fabricant.

Mr Fabricant has a majority of 17,683 and is odds on favourite to retain his seat on May 7 according to bookies William Hill.

In 2010 the Liberal Democrats won 23 per cent of the vote nationally and gained 57 MPs – around ten per cent of parliamentary seats.

Paul Ray. Pic: Lewis Deakin
Paul Ray. Pic: Lewis Deakin

Mr Ray believes the first-past-the-post voting system is unfair and he adds that the Liberal Democrats will continue to campaign for proportional representation.

He said: “I am going to give Michael a good run for his money in this election. But if we had proportional representation then there would be a real election campaign in Lichfield and Burntwood, which would be good for the people.

“Our voting system is unfair. In 2005 Tony Blair only won 35 per cent of the vote nationally, yet he gained for the Labour Party a 66 seat majority.

“Another example is Manchester City Council where Labour holds 95 seats out of a possible 96. You can’t tell me Labour won 95 per cent of the vote in Manchester?

“Despite being the mother of parliamentary democracies here in Britain, we are only one of three other countries that use the antiquated first-past-the-post-system. I will continue to campaign on this issue.”

Britain, the USA, India and Canada are the only countries to still use the first-past-the-post voting system according to the Electoral Reform Society.

In a 2011 referendum, Britain voted overwhelmingly to reject ditching the first-past-the-post system.

The no campaign won with 67.9 per cent of the vote, while the yes campaign gained 32.1 per cent of the vote.

But Mr Ray believes in the age of multi-party politics that voting reform will be a necessity in the next parliament.

He said: “I think the referendum didn’t hit home with the British people at the time. I was involved in telephone canvasing for the Liberal Democrats during the campaign in 2011.

“But we are in a different position now than four years ago, because now both of the main parties can’t break away from the 35 per cent mark in the opinion polls, and neither looks likely to get to the 40 per cent of the vote needed to deliver majority government.”

The candidates standing in the Lichfield constituency in May are:

  • Andy Bennetts – Class War
  • Michael Fabricant – Conservatives
  • Robert Pass – Green Party
  • John Rackham – UKIP
  • Paul Ray – Lib Dem
  • Chris Worsey – Labour

Lewis Deakin

NCTJ-trained reporter with experience in a wide variety of journalism settings.

4 replies on “Candidate says voting system is failing Lichfield and Burntwood”

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  1. First the Class War candidate tells me my vote is worthless in Lichfield and now the Libdem does as well. I’m definitely staying at home on May 7th.

    Is Paul Ray speaking as the candidate for the parliamentary seat here or as the candidate for Chadsmead ward in the DC elections?

    Paul Ray. The only Liberal Democrat in the village.

  2. Just for the record. I voted with the minority in 2011. I think it was telling that when the Iron Curtain came and we were visited by Parliamentary groups from the new democracies none of them wanted to copy our first past the post system. It would seem that the argument for first past the post resulting in decisive one-party governments (as opposed to Coalitions) may also be at an end. It should also be noted mind that the LibDems prevented, and I understand why, the review of Parliamentary boundaries which gives the Conservatives a disadvantage in these Parliamentary elections.

  3. The Lib Dems cocked up the opportunity to have a proper look at our voting system with that half-arsed referendum we had a few years back – another inglorious failure of Clegg’s coalition with Cameron.
    There is a need to change our system to make it fairer, but listening to a Lib Dem complaining about it is a bit much considering the way they pushed for a referendum and then did absolutely nothing to convince people of the case for change.

  4. The problem is that the big two wont support it because they used to do well by it. Most people do not find what they want. Until the power is given truly to the people, we cannot call ourselves a democracy.

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