Fight on voting reform hotting up in Havering

Havering voters will go to the polls to decide on the future of the country’s voting system in next week’s referendum.

The poll has split politicians in Westminster as well as closer to home. Labour leader Ed Miliband has endorsed the pro-Alternative Vote (AV) campaign, though his party is divided over the issue.

Meanwhile the Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron and his party have rejected it. Coalition partners the Liberal Democrats back the “yes” vote.

Romford MP Andrew Rosindell (Conservative) held a No2AV stall at Romford Market last weekend.

He said: “I think it is a ridiculous proposal. We’re used to having strong governments elected under a one-member, one-vote system and this would mean the end of that.


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“The Alternative Vote means that small parties dictate to the majority and the third placed party’s candidate could end up winning. You end up with a mess. Under AV we would potentially still have Gordon Brown as Prime Minister.”

But Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas (Labour) supports a change.

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He said: “It is pretty simple to me. Currently a lot of people don’t bother to vote because they don’t think their vote matters.

“Under this system every single person’s vote matters. People are ignored and taken for granted when their vote doesn’t matter. This would be a small start to change that.”

The leader of the opposition Residents’ Association on Havering Council, Cllr Clarence Barrett (Cranham ward), also backs a change.

He said: “Under the current system, nearly two-thirds of MPs were elected to Parliament without the majority support of their voters. It is important that those who wish to vote for a non-mainstream candidate can do so with the knowledge it will count for something.”

AV:

-Every registered UK voter in Great Britain will be asked for a Yes or No vote on whether they would like the voting system changed from the current First- Past-The-Post to the Alternative Voting system next Thursday (May 5).

-The existing system of First-Past-The-Post ensures that the Parliamentary candidate with the most votes in any constituency will win.

-Under AV candidates are listed according to preference.

-The first candidate to pass the 50 per cent threshold of votes will become MP for that constituency.

-If no candidate gains 50 per cent of votes, there will be second count of second preference candidates.

-This may have to be repeated with the thrid or fourth preferences until the 50 per cent mark is reached.

-If no candidate gains 50 per cent of the votes, the one with the highest number of votes will be declared winner.

The poll takes place next Thursday (May 5) from 7am to 10pm.

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