How would STV for the Island work?
Single Transferable Voting system works on the basis of having multi-member natural community constituencies. For the Island the natural community is Isle of Wight and the last boundary review of the Westiminster seats concluded that the Island would have two members.
So under STV for the Island the Isle of Wight would have two members voted for by the whole Island, without any artificial Island division. All the candidates standing would simply be ranked by each voter from best to worst and the two candidates who most people preferred would be elected. And under this system an existing MP can face a challenge from a candidate of the same party to finish top of poll.
There would be no joining of the Isle of Wight with any part of the mainland to introduce STV to Westiminster.
The Liberal Democrats believe that our political system needs a total overhaul. Too much power lies in the hands of too few people. Decisions are taken too far away from those they affect.
In Government we have taken some important steps forward: we've stopped future Prime Ministers from calling elections when it suits them by fixing the length of Parliaments. We've given people the right to recall their MP for wrongdoing. We've cut the influence of money in politics by restricting big campaigns from buying votes in elections. And we've given much more power to local areas in England and to the Governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to run things for themselves.
It hasn't been easy: Labour and the Conservatives ganged up to block our attempts to reform the House of Lords, make Britain's voting system fairer, and clean up party funding. So there is more work to do in the next Parliament. Our manifesto sets out plans to introduce fair votes at every level, and for every citizen from the age of 16, starting in local government. We will return to the fight to overhaul the House of Lords to make it democratic and clean up party funding. We will honour our commitments to devolve more power to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and, in England, let local areas take charge of their destinies with "Devolution on Demand".
|Record of delivery||Promise of more|
|Devolved £7bn of funding for transport and economic growth to local areas in England.||Meet the needs of England with "Devolution on Demand" letting local areas take control of the services that matter most to them.|
|Passed a Lobbying Act to introduce a register of lobbyists and curb the influence of special interests in elections.||Get big money out of politics with a £10,000 cap on political donations as part of wider funding reform.|
|Fixed term Parliaments, taking away a Prime Minister's Power to call elections when it suits their own party.||Better democracy with a fair voting system in local government and at Westminster, votes at 16, and an elected House of Lords.|
In the next parliament the Liberal Democrats key reform policies are:-
Devolution on demand. We want to devolve more power and resources to local areas, but of course not every area wants to move at the same pace. That is why we believe the process for devolution inside England should not be top down, but bottom up - allowing local people to decide which approach is right for them. We will pass a "Devolution Enabling Act" to allow local areas to take on more power and responsibility from central government.
Fair Votes. Under our current system most elections across the country are often a forgone conclusion, with votes and voters taken for granted by politicians and parties. We believe that all votes should count equally. STV - our preferred system - also delivers a more co-operative and diverse politics which we believe would improve our political system. We will lower the voting age to 16 and move to an elected House of Lords, starting from the proposals we put forward in 2012.
Party funding reform. Politics should be a battle of ideas, not bank balances. But every time we try to do a deal to reform party funding, Labour and the Conservatives walk out at the last minute to protect the people who bankroll them: unions for Labour and millionaire businessmen for the Conservatives. It's time to cap donations at £10,000 as part of a comprehensive deal to clean up politics for good.
What of Labour and Conservatives on Political Reform?
Labour are fair-weather friends of political and constitutional reform - they talk a good game but won't take the hard choices to make it happen. They failed to support AV in the referendum, they worked with Tory rebels to block House of Lords reform and refused to reach a party funding deal because they are under the thumb of their Union paymasters. And in Government they blocked Lib Dem attempts to introduce Votes at 16 and presided over a hugely centralised Whitehall machine.
The Conservatives oppose almost every step of Political and Constitutional Reform - the clue is in their name! In this Parliament they opposed electoral reform, Devolution on Demand, and Votes at 16. They helped scupper a party funding deal because they wouldn't agree to restrictions on their wealthy donors and they also shamefully reneged on their promise to reform the House of Lords.
You failed to deliver this last time; why will you succeed this time?
It is important to recognise the significant steps we have taken, such as introducing fixed term parliaments and city deals. We know that political and constitutional reform can sometimes take a few attempts to deliver - as Scottish Devolution showed. We believe that the arguments for Lords reform, PR and Devolution on Demand remain strong and we will make them as powerfully as we can.
Why are you guys obsessed with this? Isn't the economy and NHS more important?
We believe those absolutely are important issues, and that is why we have excellent policies on them. But we also believe that the way we do politics and Government matters too. You have to ask if the last government could have been so reckless with the economy, or taken us to war in Iraq or for that matter, if Margaret Thatcher could have introduced the poll tax, if we had had a more representative parliament and political system. A reformed political system would reflect the will of the people rather than that of vested interests.
Bottom line: it is simply not possible to have consistent good government with:-
- a poor governance structure that means people exercise power over local and regional services which don't effect them.
- a parliamentarian group that is out of touch because the electoral system gives no challenge and they don't reflect the people they serve.