UK Politics

Labour will be the biggest loser under AV

A new poll YouGov poll conducted for Channel 4 News says that Labour will be the biggest loser under AV. It will end up with 13 fewer MPs while the Liberal Democrats will end up with 13 more if an election were called tomorrow.

That election would under the current system give the Conservatives 255 seats, Labour 355, Lib Dems 16 and other parties 24. This would produce a Labour majority of 60.  Under AV, however, Labour would get 342 seats – 13 fewer than under FPTP. The Lib Dems would gain 29 seats (13 more). The Tories would be unchanged on 255 seats. This would produce a wafer thin Labour majority of 34 seats.

Those seat numbers are based on YouGov’s poll earlier this week that gave Labour 42%, the Tories 36% and the Lib Dems on 10%. I don’t think anyone expects that outcome and I’m sure Labour would end up with far fewer seats.

The latest polling also shows how Lib Dem second preferences have decisively shifted to the Conservatives, which explains the lack of light between David Cameron and Nick Clegg.

“In the last general election, the Liberal Democrats were slightly more likely to give a second preference to Labour. Now Lib Dems are more likely to support the Conservatives, demonstrating that the so-called ‘progressive majority’ that Ed Miliband is attempting to create by supporting AV doesn’t necessarily exist.”

The “miserable compromise” that is the alternative vote would likely deliver more “hung parliaments. Or more coalitions.

If AV were a better system it would deserve our support, but it strikes me as odd for Ed Miliband and the Labour Yes to support something that not only offers a second rate electoral reform, but reform that makes Labour the biggest loser. Its turkeys for Christmas.

I know that sounds sounds incredibly partisan, but it has to be a balance. There aren’t any prizes on offer for noble sacrifice of the Labour Party and its electoral fortunes for the alternative vote.


Joan Ryan, Director of Labour NO to AV: “After yesterday’s announcement of 375 local Labour councillors and leaders saying Vote Labour. Vote No, this poll shows why AV would be bad for Britain and bad for the Labour Party.”

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