UK Politics

AV voting referendum: Emily Thornberry's viewpoint

Image caption Emily Thornberry believes AV is "sectarian and self-serving"

A referendum will be held on 5 May on whether to keep the first-past-the-post system for electing MPs or to switch to the Alternative Vote. The BBC is asking a variety of people to give their view.

The Alternative Vote has exposed the grubby little compromises at the heart of the coalition.

Nick Clegg gets his chance to become permanent kingmaker - in return the Tories get the biggest change to our electoral map for over a century without anyone casting a vote.

The Alternative Vote will not bring a Labour MP to the Labour voters of Guildford; nor will it bring Scottish Tory voters the MPs of their choice.

They will still cast what is wrongly called a wasted vote. If we want all votes to count equally, this isn't our system.

False promise

Under the false promise of "great reform", AV will offer some voters in some seats a minor difference to how their votes will be tallied.

But, in those seats, the second, third, or fourth preferences of the supporters of the most unpopular parties will have as much weight as the 1st and often, only, preference of other voters.

As Winston Churchill once said, AV means "elections determined by the most worthless votes given for the most worthless candidates".

AV does not bring you greater proportionality - and there is a tendency for parties to gang up on one of the major ones to run an "anyone but" campaign.

When one party is really unpopular, like the Conservatives in 1997, AV can really skew the result disproportionately against them.

First-past-the-post builds a direct relationship between a community and their MP. Residents come together to decide who most people want as their national representative. No one has more than one vote and it has to be cast responsibly.

The Alternative Vote is sectarian and self-serving and it will not improve people's lives.

I will vote against AV - the grubby little compromise. And my second, third, fourth and fifth preferences will vote against it too.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites