Petition Request a Royal Commission to review Parliamentary and electoral systems of U.K.

Brexit chaos has highlighted that our electoral system is not fit for purpose. Huge amounts of electorate do not feel represented. From First Past the Post vs Prop Repres to selection of candidates and ‘life qualifications’ to ‘none of the above’ with repercussions rather than spoiling ballot paper.

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I ran None of the Above petition and many asked why not spoil paper. It seems disrespectful to our democracy. What’s wrong with option for None of the Above and if won, move to re-open nominations so constituency can remove a sitting MP.
Another point was to move to mandatory voting - could be with NoTA?
Procedures re resignations and by-elections need review.
Parl procedures seem so out of date.
In order to heal UK from Brexit division people need to feel confident in democratic processes.

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Government responded

This response was given on 18 June 2019

The Government has no plan to request a Royal Commission to review our electoral system. We continue to keep the electoral system under review to ensure our democratic processes work for everyone.

Read the response in full

The Government has no plan to request a Royal Commission to review our electoral system. Regarding the first point about the type of electoral system used, the Government’s view is that the First Past the Post system is well-established here. In each constituency, candidates are elected to represent the views of their constituents and in each case a candidate for whom more people voted than for any of the alternatives is elected. The current system is well understood by the electorate; it provides a clear and well-understood link between constituents and their representative in Parliament. As such, the First Past the Post system is a fundamental part of creating a democracy that works for everyone.

In 2011 the United Kingdom conducted a referendum on whether the voting system to elect Members of Parliament should be changed from First Past the Post. Electors voted overwhelmingly against changing the system. Over thirteen million people, more than two thirds of those who voted, voted in favour of retaining First Past the Post. The Government does not, therefore, have plans to change the voting system at the present time.

In relation to mandatory voting, the Government considers it should be up to an individual as to whether or not they vote in an election or referendum. While it is important for all those involved in politics to reinforce the importance of participating in elections, the Government does not think it right to introduce a sanction for those who decide they do not want to vote, for whatever reason. The Government, therefore, has no plans to make voting compulsory.

The suggestion to include ‘none of the above’ on the ballot paper links with compulsory voting and the Government believes when participating in a ballot, the position should be that an elector makes a positive choice rather than a negative one. It does not agree, therefore, that the introduction of such a provision would be a positive step.

Similarly, we regard the existing provisions for filling vacant seats and holding by-elections to be effective in ensuring representation for constituents and we do not have any intention to revise the process. There are, therefore, no plans to request a Royal Commission to review Parliamentary and electoral systems of the UK.

The Government will, however, continue to keep under review ways in which the democratic process can be enhanced, including tackling electoral fraud through legislating to ensure that a form of identification must be presented before voting and ensuring our electoral system is as accessible as possible to all voters.

Cabinet Office.

This is a revised response. The Petitions Committee requested a response which more directly addressed the request of the petition. You can find the original response towards the bottom of the petition page (https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/242856)

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Original Government response

In line with the result of the Parliamentary Voting System referendum in 2011, the Government will not request a Royal Commission to review our electoral system.

The Government’s view is that the First Past the Post system is well-established and effective. In each constituency, candidates are elected to represent the views of their constituents and in each case a candidate for whom more people voted than for any of the alternatives is elected. The current system is well-understood by the electorate; it provides a clear and well-understood link between constituents and their representative in Parliament.

In 2011 the United Kingdom conducted a referendum on whether the voting system to elect Members of Parliament should be changed from First Past the Post. Electors voted overwhelmingly against changing the system. Over thirteen million people, more than two-thirds of those who voted, voted in favour of retaining First Past the Post. In-line with that result and with its manifesto commitment, the Government does not have plans to change the voting system.

Cabinet Office.

This response was given on 26 April 2019. The Petitions Committee then requested a revised response, that more directly addressed the request of the petition.

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