A great LD result doesn't hide the system's flaws

8 Jul 2024

The 72 seats won by the Liberal Democrats in the General Election is a great achievement but this election reveals the unfairness of our First Past the Post (FPTP) electoral system unlike any before it.

First, note that this is the only time that four parties each got a vote share in excess of 10%, a reflection of the continued downward trend of the combined Labour and Conservative vote share over the last 50 years. Together they achieved a vote share of just 58% in this year's election and the lowest in over 100 years. One of the central planks of the argument in favour of FPTP, that it works well in a two party environment, is clearly creaking.

Now consider how the vote shares translated into actuals MPs. Ironically, being a party deeply committed to electoral reform, this time we gained just five fewer seats than we would have obtained under proportional representation: a major improvement over the unfairness of previous elections.

However, that should not distract from analysing the results for the major beneficiary of FPTP in this year's election: namely, the Labour Party. After the final results were in, they had 412 elected MPs on a vote share of 34%. Put another way, the Labour Party won roughly two thirds of the available seats with only one third of the votes cast – a startlingly discriminatory result.

You can analyse the results further and see what might have happened under Proportional Representation on the Electoral Reform Society's website.

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