Letter to my New MP on electoral reform

Today, I wrote my first letter to my new MP, Michael Gove.

Dear Mr. Gove,

Given that Labour have attained a substantial majority of seats, almost double that of the Conservatives despite having only achieved about 3% more of the popular vote, I am writing to learn your views on electoral reform.

In 1997, Labour promised electoral reform as part of their manifesto. Despite a 1998 recommendation to move to the AV+ system, this promise was quietly dropped. AV+ maintains a constituency link and allows voters to select individuals (as opposed to the list based PR system)

If you support the current system, I would be interested to learn your reasons, especially as it seems self evident that the electoral system itself is responsible for much of what politicians like to call "voter apathy".

If you do support electoral reform, I would be pleased to hear how you intend to challenge the government and promote this issue.

In addition, England remains the one part of the United Kingdom without national representation, Scottish MPs in Westminster vote on matters which they know will not affect their own constituents. I would like to learn your views on this matter, and how you plan to redress this democratic deficit. This topic holds some potential interest given that your party has beaten Labour in England, a cynic may wonder if this is the reason that powers haven't been devolved to England.

As with previous letters, when I get a reply I'll scan it for you. (I did forget to scan a couple in the past, oops, sorry, nothing too important!)

I have sent a modified version of this letter to Number 10.

Dear Mr. Blair,

I am writing this in the hope that this makes its way to your desk and that you are continuing to listen to the electorate as you said this morning. Labour have attained a substantial, albeit diminished, majority of seats, almost double that of the Conservatives despite having only achieved about 3% more of the popular vote. Given this, I am writing to learn your views on electoral reform.

In 1997, Labour promised electoral reform as part of their manifesto. Despite a 1998 recommendation to move to the AV+ system, this promise was quietly dropped. AV+ maintains a constituency link and allows voters to select individuals, thus not penalizing independents (as opposed to the list based PR system).

If you support the current system, I would be interested to learn your reasons, especially as it seems self evident that the electoral system itself is responsible for much of what politicians like to call "voter apathy". It might seem that your support for first past the post stems from the advantage which it gives the Labour party. I would hope that this appearance is incorrect.

If you do support electoral reform, then I am thrilled. I would be pleased to hear how you intend to promote this issue.

In addition, England remains the one part of the United Kingdom without national representation, Scottish MPs in Westminster vote on matters which they know will not affect their own constituents. I would like to learn your views on this matter, and how you plan to redress this democratic deficit. Given that the Conservatives won the popular vote in England, a cynic may wonder if this is the reason that powers haven't been devolved to England. I am sure that this is not the case, and I would like to understand the reasons why England seems to be treated as a special case within the UK.

Edit 6th May: Make My Vote Count points out an article from the FT.

Edit 13th May: A good letter to Gordon Brown

Edit 24th May: A holding letter from Downing Street. As of now, my MP has yet to reply.