Report shows electoral system continued to benefit Tories over Labour in 2019

The Tories got 33% more seats per vote than Labour.

New analysis from the Electoral Reform Society has showed that in 2019 the electoral system continues to benefit the Conservative Party more than Labour.

The analysis also shows that the Scottish National Party benefit from First Past the Post while the Liberal Democrats, Greens and Brexit Party are disadvantaged by it.

For every MP they returned, the Conservatives received 38,264 votes while Labour got 50,855 votes. In percentage terms, they got about 33% more seats per vote. These results are similar to the 2017 election.

The analysis highlighted Labour’s tendency to pile up votes in its safest seats. Of the country’s ten safest seats, nine are Labour-held constituencies in inner London and Merseyside while only the tenth is Tory Sleaford and North Hykeham.

“First Past the Post rewards the most geographically efficient vote spread – which means it wastes a lot of votes which are geographically concentrated,” the Electoral Reform Society said.

In terms of seats, the 2019 result was the worst for Labour since 1935. However, in terms of vote share, it was a better performance than 2010 or 2015.

Other parties, like the Liberal Democrats, Greens and Brexit Party are even more disadvantaged by the electoral system than Labour.

The Greens got 22 times as many votes per seat as the Tories while the Brexit Party received 644,255 votes but no MPs. These figures are again similar to the last election.

It is also highly likely that, due to the prominence of tactical voting, more people would have voted for the Greens and the Brexit Party if it hadn’t been seen as a ‘wasted vote’ in the vast majority of constituencies. Nearly a third of voters said they had voted tactically.

On the other hand, the Scottish National Party is currently a major beneficiary of the electoral system. It received 45% of Scotland’s votes but 81% of its seats.

In Scotland, the Labour Party got 19% of votes but just 2% of seats (one seat). The Conservatives got 25% of the vote and 10% of the seats.

Joe Lo is a co-editor of Left Foot Forward

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