Published On: Sun, Jul 7th, 2024
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Ed Davey breaks silence on Reform UK after Nigel Farage won more votes | Politics | News

Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey has broken his silence on Reform UK – after his party secured more than 14 times as many seats as Nigel Farage‘s party in the General Election – despite getting fewer votes overall.

Mr Farage’s party secured 4,117,221 votes across the more than 600 constituencies the party fielded candidates in – a total of 14.3 per cent of the national vote share.

However, due to how the UK’s First Past the Post election system works, the party only came out on top in five of these – Clacton, Boston and Skegness, Ashfield, South Basildon and East Thurrock, and Great Yarmouth.

By contrast, the Liberal Democrats achieved 3,519,199 votes – or 12.2 per cent of the overall count – but are entering the new Parliament with a total of 72 MPs.

The result has led to discussion about whether Britain should ditch First Past the Post, which in effect runs 650 separate elections with the party that wins the most forming the Government, with Proportional Representation – which sees parties given seats based on their share of the vote.

Speaking on the BBC‘s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme, Sir Ed Davey said his party has ‘long argued for electoral reform’ as ‘our politics is broken’, but added it ‘might mean that there’ll be people who are elected who we don’t agree with’.

He added: “We want to improve our democracy, our politics is broken and so we’re going to continue to make that case.

“It might mean that there’ll be people who are elected who we don’t agree with but by the way, that’s been the case in the first past the post, there are many people in the Conservative Party who seem to share the values and ideas of Reform, and they’re already there.”

Asked if the voting system was reformed under proportional representation, would he be happy to see Reform UK being the third biggest party and not the Liberal Democrats, he said: “Well, I believe in democracy, and I believe in taking forward your ideas for political reform.

“People will get voted in who you don’t agree with, under first past the post people in Reform have got elected too and people in the Conservative Party who were very close to Reform have got elected. That’s democracy, that’s allowing the people to express their will.”

In 2011, as part of the coalition deal between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, a referendum was held on modifying the UK’s system to the ‘Alternative Vote’.

That system was rejected – with 67.90 per cent of those who cast ballots voting for no change.

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