Camden politicians unite for fairer votes
They’re usually bitterly divided, but Councillors from all Camden’s major parties are putting aside their differences to join the Camden Yes! to Fairer Votes campaign.
In an unprecedented move, Councillors including Adam Harrison (Labour), Andrew Marshall (Conservative), Keith Moffitt (Liberal Democrat), and Maya de Souza (Green) will work with local residents fighting for a ‘Yes!’ vote on May 5th.
They argue that a ‘Yes!’ vote – meaning MPs will have to aim to win the support of 50% of voters to be elected – will make MPs work harder and listen to more people. They also say the new system, the Alternative Vote (AV), will end negative campaigning at elections and allow people to vote for their favourite party, ending tactical voting for good.
Sarah Allan, Co-chair of Yes! to Fairer Votes Camden, and Camden Town resident, said: “It’s great that local politicians from all parties see the need for change. I’m not a member of any political party and have never campaigned for one. I got involved with Yes! to Fairer Votes because I want to see a better politics where people can vote for who they really support and more people have their voice heard.”
Labour Councillor Adam Harrison said: “From my experience as a local councillor and having seen how people divide their three local votes between different parties, it’s clear that voters’ loyalties are no longer tribal like they once were. So now is the time for us to back AV because this new system recognises that people’s political views are multilayered and nuanced. It gives everyone greater freedom of expression at the ballot box’.
Leader of the Camden Liberal Democrats and local Councillor Keith Moffitt said: “The fact that campaigners from all four of Camden’s parties are working together tells us that we’re on the brink of a new kind of politics and I really welcome that. I’m looking forward to election campaigns where the debate is about the big issues of the day – not just about who can win.”
Conservative Councillor Andrew Marshall said: “It just isn’t right that most MPs don’t get the support of half the voters. AV would mean every MP would have to get the support of a majority of those voting. Giving people the ability to rank their vote as 1-2-3 means everyone can vote for who they really want, without worrying about whether it’s a ‘wasted vote’. There’s an active Conservative Yes campaign as part of the overall Yes campaign, and we’re finding many Conservative supporters locally understand that change will be good for democracy and accountability.”
Green Councillor Maya de Souza said: “Politics has moved on. People want a real choice – not just a choice between 2 or 3 seemingly similar parties. With AV a vote for a smaller party is not a wasted vote. It will mean that smaller parties with a fresh approach to politics and fundamentally important ideas like those of the Green Party can play a fuller part in political life. It does not provide a way in for extremist parties as a party needs 50% of the vote to win, and these parties have been voted out by the public as it’s clear they have no real solutions to offer. AV will mean that people re-engage with politics – which is so important if we are to have a healthy thriving democracy.”