Andy Burnham explains why Labour should back proportional representation

'The First Past the Post system hands more power to the establishment than MPs or people.'

Andy Burnham

The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has set out the reasons for why the Labour Party should back a change to the voting system in favour of proportional representation (PR), despite party leader Keir Starmer saying that voting reform will not be a priority should Labour win power.

Although the Labour Party conference last year overwhelmingly backed a motion calling on the party to embrace a proportional electoral system, the leadership has made clear that it would not do as the motion says.

Since then, at the Progressive Britain conference last week, Starmer made clear that voting reform would not be among the priorities should Labour win power.

Burnham however has urged the party to adopt PR, saying that the current first-past-the-post voting system hands more power to the establishment than MPs or people and changing the system to proportional representation would mean “every vote would matter”.

He told Sky’s Sophie Ridge on Sunday show: “When you step outside of Westminster and you look at things afresh and I’ve looked at how power doesn’t really flow properly throughout this country. The First Past the Post system hands more power to the establishment than MPs or people. I think PR would put the people much more in control, every vote would matter.

“I’ve come round I’ve got the zeal of the convert, I personally believe if you’re really going to make this country work properly for all people and all places, it’s a combination of proportional representation for the Commons, a senate of the nations and regions to replace the unelected Lords, because how can it be right in this day and age that all places aren’t represented equally in our national parliament and then thirdly I would have maximum devolution of power to the regional or city regional level like we’ve got in Manchester.

‘That would make the country work much better and make it much fairer for everybody and I would like to see that agenda not taken off the table.”

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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