North Londoners join rally to protest against Elections Bill
- Credit: Make Votes Matter
North Londoners joined hundreds of protesters in Westminster to fight against an "undemocratic" Elections Bill.
Make Votes Matter supporters from Camden, Haringey and Islington headed to Westminster on February 5.
Home secretary Priti Patel has introduced a move to first past the post (FPTP) for future mayoral and police and crime commissioner elections, which requires a change in legislation as part of the Elections Bill.
If passed, people would be forced to vote for the London Mayor using FPTP instead of the current Supplementary Vote where it is possible to rank the top-two choices.
The rally featured speakers including Labour's former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell MP.
Camden resident Cath Attlee, who joined the rally with North London Make Votes Matter supporters, said: “Now more than ever, we need electoral reform so that everybody’s voice counts.”
Emma Knaggs, grassroots director at Make Votes Matter, is asking people to sign the "Less first past the post, not more" petition, and "send a clear message to the government not to impose this archaic system on future mayoral and Police and Crime Commissioner elections".
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She said it would be a "backward step for our democracy" and "leave millions more voters being governed by officials they simply didn't vote for.”
Liberal Democrat Assembly Member Hina Bokhari said: “The people in power do not want progress, equality or fairness. The system works for them – and keeps them in power.
"Proportional representation would ensure that the electorate are accurately represented and engaged.”
Mark Kieran, chief executive of Open Britain, said: “If passed, the Elections Bill would compromise the independence of the elections watchdog, frustrate the ability of already marginalised groups to cast their votes, and silence campaign organisations that don’t toe the government’s line.
"Our system would be a democracy in name only.”
A Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities spokesperson said FPTP "reflects the will of the British people" who voted for it in the 2011 alternative vote referendum.
“The government was elected on a manifesto commitment to continue to support FPTP, which is a simple and fair system, is well-understood by voters, and provides for strong and direct local accountability," they said.
“The Elections Bill will stamp out the potential for voter fraud and bring consistency to the way people vote across the United Kingdom.”
To sign the petition visit www.makevotesmatter.org.uk/petition-less-fptp-not-more