Carmichael condemns “skewed” proposals ahead of Conservative Elections Bill votes

Orkney and Shetland MP and Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Political Reform, Alistair Carmichael, has spoken out today ahead of debate on the government’s Elections Bill. Mr Carmichael highlighted the controversial imposition of mandatory voter ID, which voting rights groups have warned may disenfranchise millions of voters, the loosening of donation rules for parties and measures which increase government control over the independent Electoral Commission.

Writing in the Times today ahead of the debate, Mr Carmichael advocated for his amendment which would introduce proportional representation in UK elections:

My amendment would update our clapped-out First Past the Post voting regime with a proportional system. Parties would win seats in proportion to their vote share – what a novel concept.

“Most importantly, however, it would make our elections fairer for everyone. The events of the past week clearly demonstrate the problems of the current system. The Conservative Party has collapsed below 30% in the polls – and yet it can rule with almost untrammelled power, because it is entrenched with an 80-seat majority itself secured on a minority of votes. We have tolerated skewed democracy for too long – today is an opportunity to change course.”

Mr Carmichael added:

“There are many other reasons to object to the Elections Bill as it stands: the discriminatory and unnecessary voter ID rules; the further loosening of funding rules to the benefit of the Tories; the creeping government control of the Electoral Commission, to name but a few.

“It speaks volumes that the government barely even attempts to justify these measures to skew our democracy. Distorted democracy breeds contempt and entitlement – as we have seen to our cost with this self-absorbed government.”

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