An Englishman of forty years residence in Wales pontificates about politics (slightly off-message), films and trivia. Secretary of Aberavon and Neath Liberal Democrats. Candidate for Neath in the Westminster elections of 1997 & 2017 and the Welsh general election of 2016.
Thursday, 28 September 2017
Fair votes in Welsh local government
I reproduce in full a recent email from Anthony Tuffin of the STV Bulletin:
Please respond to this public consultation by Tuesday 10 October if you'd like to see PR introduced for local elections in Wales.
Especially respond please if you live in Wales, but you can help by responding wherever you live.
Please also encourage friends, especially if they are in Wales, to respond.
Ideally we’d like PR for all local government elections in Wales, but the consultation is only about allowing each local authority to choose PR. However, it would be a step in the right direction and, since local authorities in New Zealand have been allowed local choice, several have opted for PR. You may also be able to add the comment that you would like PR for all local elections in Wales, as in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
As Wales already uses PR for its Assembly elections, it’s very logical that it should also use PR for local elections. The system proposed is Single Transferable Vote (STV), which is already used for local elections in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
More information is below, supplied by an electoral reform colleague in Wales.
I hope that all supporters of proportional representation in Wales will respond to the current Welsh Government consultation on this issue. I understand that opinion within the Welsh Government, and in particular the cabinet (Labour, with one Lib Dem Mnister, Kirsty Williams, at Education) is divided on the issue, so a strong positive response to the consultation could be crucial.
The issue is important in the wider UK context: Northern Ireland and Scotland already have STV for local government elections; it would be great if Wales could follow their successful example.
Earlier this year the Welsh Government had a public consultation on "Reforming local government: Resilient and renewed".
There were 169 responses, with 20 commenting on changing the electoral system for council elections from FPTP to STV (12-8 against). 27 commented on whether such a change should be optional, with each council deciding for itself whether to change; responses were 26-1 against this.
The current consultation, with closing date 10 October, focuses on Electoral reform It can be found online at:
Astonishingly, a consultation with 46 questions does not ask the most important one: should the FPTP voting system for local government elections be replaced by STV? Admittedly a majority of respondents to the earlier consultation were against, but these may well have been from councils themselves. [Only 9 of the 169 responses to the consultation were from members of the public.]
The current consultation only asks two questions on the voting system:
it repeats the question on whether the change should be optional, despite the previous 26-1 against response, and asks an additional question on whether a council's decision to change should require a
Section 4 of the current consultation, dealing with voting reform, is attached.
If you would like to see a fairer voting system used for local government in Wales, please respond to the consultation before 10th October.
If you want to respond to the whole consultation (there are other interesting issues, including votes for 16 and 17 year olds), you can fill in a form available online at:
"Consultation on Electoral reform in local government in Wales"
and stating which parts of the consultation you wish to comment on, e.g. "Section 4. The voting system"
One simple response would be to ask that the Welsh Assembly to follow the example of the Labour/LD coalition in Scotland, which brought in STV for council elections through a simple act of the Scottish Parliament, the Local Governance (Scotland) Act 2004. Note also that Northern Ireland has had STV for council elections since 1973 (brought in by a Conservative government at Westminster).