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Kent and Medway election candidates call for a change in the voting system

By Paul Francis

Urgent changes to the voting system are needed to reflect the fact that 800,000 voters in the county have ended up with MPs they did not support, say defeated candidates.

A letter from 27 candidates from across the county has been sent to Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn calling on them to consider alternatives to the first past the post system. Signatories included candidates from the Green party, Ukip, Labour and the Lib Dems.

Of the 1.3 million registered voters in Kent, only 500,000 voted for an MP who now represents them, the letter says.

Ballot papers being scrutinised
Ballot papers being scrutinised

It has been signed by candidates who stood for Labour, the Liberal Democrats and Ukip as well as the Green Party.

Stuart Jeffery who organised the letter and stood for the Green Party in Maidstone and the Weald said the “winner takes it all system” was flawed.

“Our electoral system is broken and a proportional system of election will help fix it. People need to have MPs who represent their views," he said.

"We urgently need to reform our electoral system, the current one may have worked in Victorian times but life has moved on and most first world countries have moved with it. It is now time for the UK to introduce a properly democratic system to elect MPs.”

Analysis shows that dividing the number of votes nationally by the number of MPs elected for a party, the Greens returned one MP for 525,000 votes, UKIP returned no MPs despite 594,000 votes, the Lib Dems had an average of 198,000 votes per MP while Conservatives and Labour had averages of 43,000 and 49,000 respectively

"This is not democracy and not proportional,” said Mr Jeffrey.

However, the public appetite for change was not great when a referendum on changing the voting system in 2011 was comprehensively rejected by voters.

The result saw 6,152,607 vote Yes to the Alternative Vote, while 13,013,123 voted No.

The election saw Theresa May’s vote share match that of Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher, who had landslides in 1979 and 1997.

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