Labour International CLP response to the NPF December 2020 Interim Report from the Justice and Home Affairs Commission
Labour International is committed to participation in Labour's policy process and welcomes this opportunity to comment on the Interim Reports.
Our comments here are based on consultation of our members including an online discussion held on 16th January 2021 and ratified at a General Committee meeting on 21st February.
Part 2. (Full report attached below as pdf.)
The meeting and our response focussed on a single aspect of the commission's report. Labour International recently carried a resolution not only to support electoral reform, but also campaign for Proportional Representation in Parliamentary elections.
LI members living in several countries spoke of the changing nature of politics, and far-reaching effects of a proportionally elected government. It can represent precisely the wishes of the voters and relies on concensus and coalition, producing continuity of government, and more effective progress.
The coalitions are formed successfully for almost every new government, and compromise and collaboration are celebrated here, not deplored as failure.
The Mixed Member or Additional member systems used in Germany and New Zealand give each constituency a directly elected, named MP just as we have now, and a party vote which will decide the eventual shape of the government. The ballot paper is straightforward and the system easy to explain.
In Germany this sits comfortably within their Federal system.
The Single Transferable Vote is used very successfully in Irish Parliamentary elections, as well as the Scottish and Welsh Assemblies in the UK.
In Portugal and Switzerland, there is trust and confidence in governments, but the Party List system has severed the links between MPs and constituencies. (In Belgium a similar system works less effectively and prompts tactical voting.)
Dealing with the disproportionate allocation of power is a core purpose of the Labour Party, and FPTP cements that disproportionality into our chief organ of power – the House of Commons.
We believe that all the compromises we have to make under a system of proportional representation will advance socialist government more surely than an occasional Labour-majority government in a sequence of minority Tory governments
As well as devolution and federalisation, Labour need a plan for the next general election to halt the break-up of the UK, and to building a better, more inclusive, and more accountable political system.
It will need to be proportional, it will need to provide named candidates and local MPs, and it will require a wide consultation and knowledge of how other systems work.
The Justice and Home Affairs Commission can lead the way by featuring PR in detail in the next consultation.
We should not wait any longer to commit to anything: our party must decide before the next general election that we will tackle this issue in the first term of a new government. Without that, we may not get a second term.
Full report attached here as pdf