Tories won less than half the vote but took every seat on this council

Theresa May
Chris Jarvis

All the votes have now been counted for the English local elections. And it was very bad news for the Conservative Party. It lost 1,334 councillors across England. The Conservatives also lost control of a whopping 44 local councils.

But despite the disastrous results, the party will be rubbing its hands with glee over what happened in one council. In Havant, it won every single seat up for election despite winning less than half of the vote.

Skewed results

The Electoral Reform Society analysed the local election results from Havant, a town in Hampshire. It found that although the Conservatives won every seat on the council, the party received just 43.9% of the vote across the town. Labour received 11% of the vote, the Lib Dems 18.6%, UKIP 20.6%, and the Greens 5.9%. But none of these parties took a single seat.

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A similar result occurred for the Labour Party in Sandwell. There, Labour also won every seat up for election, even though more than 40% of voters opted for other parties.

This is a result of the voting system used in England for local elections – first past the post. Under this system, the party that wins the most votes in any one seat is declared the winner – even if the majority of people vote for other parties.

This often produces very skewed results. It means that parties can end up amassing huge numbers of seats, without the support of most people. Other parties can gain lots of support and end up without many or any seats.

In this year’s local elections, one councillor was elected in Durham with just 19% of the vote. That means that a massive 81% of people voted for other candidates.

Undemocratic

Results like this show just how broken England’s democratic system is. This is why the Electoral Reform Society has called for reform to the voting system. Its chief executive Darren Hughes said:

These results show that our two-party electoral system is being pushed to breaking point. With growing numbers of voters dissatisfied with the two main parties and many choosing to ‘shop around’ results are becoming increasingly distorted as the winner-takes-all-politics of first past the post is shown unable to keep up.

In this election we’ve seen candidates winning seats with less than a quarter and in some cases a fifth of the votes cast. Parties have swept into power seizing control of entire council chambers with the support of barely half of voters. Something needs to change.

There are countless political problems at the moment. But until we fix our broken voting system, democracy will remain something of an illusion.

Featured image via Tiocfaidh ár lá 1916 – Flickr.

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  • Show Comments
    1. There is a problem with PR which would be most acute in local elections. They are local and obviously should be. PR would mean a ‘party list’, control of which would be in the hands of each party or grouping. Hence no. 1 on the list would be certain to be elected and the last one having no chance: too much control by too few people. The EU elections are run in this way, with MEPs having little local connection and near anonymity with the public.
      Anyone standing for election in a particular District Ward and being elected was the choice of those in that Ward.
      So PR has severe drawbacks.

      1. I Scotland in local elections we use the single transferable vote. In other words you vote for the actual candidates in order of preference, you can see which party they are in on the ballot paper. It also has it’s issues but is much fairer that both the FPTP and the party list system.

    2. https://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/
      LINK TO POST 5.5.2019

      LOCAL ELECTIONS LANCES ROUND-UP: Major parties are big losers

      LOOK voter this I.D. SCAM was of Tory Govt invention
      the Tory Cllr in P.B.C +Colne area all know we voted some time back NOT to have I.D. voting in our areas of Pendle.
      But they still implemented it in May election plus rigged, the post vote mess by late voting paper sent out to voters.
      And now it could be they may have rigged the I.D.
      vote information as well to the old + Migrant voter,
      in our area of P.B.C +Colne area by not letting
      this Old lady vote on the night at a polling station
      By possibly giving her miss leading information else were along the line from their staff in NELSON Town hall
      The P.B.C. +Colne Tory Cllr run the I.D. SCAM voting
      hoping to get FULL POWER OF OUR AREA.
      But it all when tit’s when they started fixing or rigging
      the outcome of the vote to stay in FULL power round here
      Me helping the public understand the rule may have help change the outcome for the better in our area of P.B.C + Colne area
      “I hope so! Now the Tory Cllr are going to pay the FULL price to us residents for failing us all in this area of P.B.C + Colne area.

    3. https://www.theguardian.com/uk
      LINK to post 5.5.2019
      Brexit: anger grows at May-Corbyn bid to stitch,
      up deal
      LOOK all your paper bosses that peddle C**P!
      JUST for a story + untruths on websites.
      ////
      “I Roy Jenkins am a free voter No ties to any party in power or out of power
      also pay No fee to vote to any party a FACT!
      //////
      So, you lot Taring Labour leader with the same shit brush as Tory Leader is a NO-GO area, The True FACTS are Labour is not running this country?
      it is Tory Govt + their partners in Crime D.U.P. party running things NOW.
      /////
      Fact is the Tory + D.U.P. party invented the backstop mess to keep us in the E.U. forever Not Labour party leader or Labour party members all the mess of E.U.
      leaving now is OF all Tory party members + all D.U.P. party members, nothing to do with Labour party at all a FACT!
      “I hope Labour hold a new G.E. in NOV 2019 then take FULL control of us leaving E.U.
      //////
      FINALLY!
      To all newspaper bosses if you’re going to put out stories make sure they are true
      like my posts are on all matter “I post on.— Labour is Not responsible for E.U. mess it is David Cameron + Tory party members backing him up that are,
      FULLY responsible for E.U. mess also D/Cameron then did a runner, from his responsibility to the U.K. people raver than sort out the E.U. mess Now Labour as to do Tory Govt job WHY???? all paper bosses ask Ms May,
      WHY plus D.U.P. party leader that have failed all us leave voters Now!
      Drag the truth out of Tory party + D.U.P. party that are in “charge of E.U. mess not Labour – DO Not blame Labour party for the E.U. MESS at all

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