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Labour’s split on AV

Ed Miliband supports AV. He thinks it is fairer than FPTP and good for democracy and accountability. But more than 100 Labour MPs saying they oppose it.

(Video Credit: Angelina He)

Politicians in South Yorkshire such as Caroline Flint (Shadow local government and communities secretary) and Angela Smith (Penistone MP) are against AV.

The Sheffield MP Clive Betts who supports local transportation and social care is also against the change to AV. The General Election in 2010 shows that he gains just under 50 per cent support overall. But he could still win even if he loses 52 per cent.  When using AV system, he has to reach out to other groups for support to secure the seat because the 2 per cent margin may be swiped out.

The big picture is AV vote won’t split coalition government. Clegg and Cameron both admit it.

When asked about the split over AV in the party, Ed Miliband thought the national interest and the party interest were the major reasons for it. It is what party people would like to lead the country and if the party could fulfill the promise (e.g. NHS, tuition fees, VAT) that count. But sometimes for the Labour politicians it is about whom to sit with, Nick Clegg or someone else. The belief in the AV system itself varies in the Labour too. Some politicians still believe one people one vote is fairer and the current system has historically reflected the will of the public. And the country has been doing well using FPTP.

“AV would change the political culture”

Ed Miliband said AV would change the political culture. The most important reason is MPs will have to work harder to gain the votes.

He also mentioned that politicians would need to reach out to each other rather than present the hatred. Meanwhile there wouldn’t be any dilemma “voting with your heart or head” any more. Parties, no matter big or small, would have more equal chances to gain the votes. These together would make a more positive political culture.

In fact, AV is the method used for Labour and Lib Dem leadership elections. Many US mayoral and district internal elections also use it. Whether or not AV will win over, it “should be the beginning of the journey, not the end” said Ed Miliband.

Also support: Harriet Harman (Labour Party deputy leader), Ed Balls (Shadow chancellor), Tessa Jowell (Shadow minister for the Olympics), Carwyn Jones (Welsh first minister), Alan Johnson (former Home secretary) and Lord Kinnock (former Labour Party leader).

Against: Lord Prescott (former Deputy prime minister), John Healey (shadow health secretary) and Margaret Beckett (Labour Party leader, President of the ‘NO to AV’ campaign).

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