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21 Tory rebels object to supplementary vote for election of city mayors

By Tim Montgomerie

Jonathan Isaby is ConHome's student of rebellions but with him away I should record a small rebellion by Tory MPs against the use of the supplementary vote in the election of city mayors. Revolts.co.uk records the fact:

"Not content with pronouncing AV dead for years to come following the decisive 'no' in the AV referendum, some members of the Tory right have made a point of flexing their muscles over their continued support for First-Past-the-Post. On Tuesday, during the Report stage of the Localism Bill, 21 Tory MPs supported an amendment in the name of newbie MP John Stevenson, which aimed to change the electoral system for electing mayors from the supplementary vote to FPTP. Fourteen out of the 21 rebels were drawn from the new intake, while four Conservative MPs were voting against the Government for the first time: Steve Brine, Nadine Dorries, John Stevenson and Craig Whittaker."

Screen shot 2011-05-21 at 06.45.01 Moving his unsuccessful amendment Mr Stevenson said:

"At present, mayors are elected under the supplementary vote system, which is retained in the Bill. Effectively it is a form of the alternative vote. My amendment 2 would change that so that future elections are done under first past the post. That would provide a consistent approach to elections. Varying the voting system creates confusion and a lack of certainty for the average voter. Two weeks ago, this country went to the polling booth for a referendum on whether we wanted AV or first past the post. Had the voters supported AV, I would have withdrawn this amendment. I would have accepted the will of the people. In fact, there was an overwhelming and emphatic vote for first past the post. As one hon. Member said to me, “The people of this country did not say no; they said never.” I accept that judgment, but I believe there has to be consistency. I support the amendment on the basis that we should have a consistent approach to our elections and that elected mayors should therefore be elected under first past the post. I genuinely hope that the House will agree with what the people said two weeks ago and support the amendment."

Boris Johnson was elected under SV. Under SV voters have a first and second preference. Under AV you can use any number of preferences.


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