Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Will Labour campaign for AV?

In the run up to the election, Gordon Brown kept banging on about how important it was to change the voting system to the Alternative Vote. In Labour's manifesto was a commitment to hold a referendum in 2011 to change to that system and listening to the rhetoric you have to assume that they were planning to campaign for a "yes" vote had they been in power.

We already know that the Conservatives (or at least most of them) will likely campaign for a "no" vote (although they are bound by the terms of the coalition agreement to pass the referendum bill in the Commons).

There are certainly some Labour figures such as Peter Hain who have wanted AV for a long time and others who although they want a more proportional system, see AV as a stepping stone towards that.

So the interesting question is, now that Labour are in opposition, but a referendum for AV will be called anyway, will they campaign for it?


Neil Harding said...

I think it all depends on which leader they get. As far as I know, of the potential candidates only Jon Cruddas would support electoral reform. And he is unlikely to win.

Ed Balls and Ed Miliband are definitely against change, and I imagine David Miliband is too. I suspect Alistair Darling is against as well. I imagine Labour will largely campaign against despite their AV pledge in the manifesto, with a number of notables campaigning for - such as Alan Johnson and Peter Hain.

I think Labour's position on this will also depend on what is planned for constituency boundaries. On the present boundaries which are likely to be changed before the next election, Labour would do well out of AV, with the Tories doing worse. With boundary enlargement I suspect the Tories might pick up 2nd preferences from more rural Lib Dems and do much better.

Afterthought said...

Labour will sabotage AV in the same spirit that they have sabotaged any Lib-Lab coalition and then blamed the Liberal Democrats for selling out -- after they sold out for 13 years.

They just care about "pass the parcel", nothing more.

Anonymous said...

No. That would be principled

blanco said...

No, they will sabotage it purely to destroy the Lib Dems.

Mark Pack said...

The omens from fixed-term Parliaments are hardly good. Legislating for them was in Labour's manifesto yet plenty in Labour (who never criticised it when it was their policy) are now attacking the idea.

With that sort of nimble u-turn, the omens don't look great for sticking to their manifesto on AV