Clegg: “Half Britain’s seats have not changed hands in my lifetime”

Nick Clegg's speech at the Liberal Democrat conference yesterday contained a fascinating section on the unfairness of the British electoral system: "Nearly half of Britain’s constituencies have elected the same party in every election since I was born?"

Beyond the headlines of Prime Ministerial ambition, Nick Clegg’s speech at the Liberal Democrat conference yesterday contained a fascinating section on the unfairness of the British electoral system. In a section entitled “A new promise,” Clegg said:

“We must do away with safe seats. Did you know, nearly half of Britain’s constituencies have elected the same party in every election since I was born? These are seats where you could put a red or blue rosette on the back end of a donkey and it would still win. Only when every MP has to do a decent job and win the trust of the people they represent will we ever clean up politics for good. It will be the beginning of real change in Britain.”

The figures appear to come from research by Mark Pack of Liberal Democrat Voice and The Wardman Wire with help from the Electoral Reform Society. Dr Pack writes that:

“The proportion that has stayed with the same party since 1970 is:

England 50%
Scotland 42%
Wales 43%
Overall 49%

“So if you are under 40, nearly half the seats in the country have never changed hands since you were born. That doesn’t look like a system which is holding MPs to account for their behaviour.”

Aside from the standing ovation at the end, this section of Clegg’s speech appeared to receive the longest applause. This information could add impetus to the work of ‘Vote for a Change‘ who are campaigning to get the Government to announce a referendum on electoral reform before the next general election.

2 Responses to “Clegg: “Half Britain’s seats have not changed hands in my lifetime””

  1. Left Foot Forward

    Missing from the headlines, Clegg highlights that half Britain’s seats are safe writes @MarkReckons http://bit.ly/dRa53

  2. Chris Paul

    Is Mr Clegg requiring change for change’s sake here?

    Why would more than half seats change hands in this period? And if they did under whatever system why would even more voters back his party? A party which is, it seems to me, constitutionally anti-politics and pro- tell them what they want to hear? And which gets found out as such in office?

    Sorry if this is rocking the progressive boat. But up here in the NW they’re not. Progressive.

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