McDonnell calls on Labour to back Proportional Representation

Updated: Apr 4, 2021

The Hayes and Harlington Labour MP John McDonnell has called on his Party to back proportional representation calling it “strategically important in securing Labour in power”.

The news came prior to the opening of Momentum’s policy primary in which members of the campaign group will have the opportunity to choose introducing proportional representation to be one of the policy proposals it brings to the upcoming Labour Party Conference.

Writing in Labour List McDonnell said:

In 19 of the last 20 general elections, most people voted for parties to the left of the Conservatives. Thanks to our archaic voting system, the Tories have been in power for two thirds of that time”.

FPTP [First Past The Post] has instead handed the Conservatives the means to brutally undo what precious progress we [the Labour Party] make. This is why a proportional voting system must be a key demand of the left. If we want properly funded public services, or a democratised economy, or fair trade union laws – and if we want to keep these things once they are won – we need PR”.

This is not the first time McDonnell has called for proportional representation: he is on the record as having backed it during his time as Shadow Chancellor (2015 - 2020) however was then unable to convince others at the top of the Labour party to adopt it. He does not place blame on anybody though.

"The truth is, this transformation of the terms of British democracy cannot come from the top down. It must come as a loud and clear demand from across our membership, an expression of our shared commitment to democratic principle".

The momentum policy primary is now open until March 31st.

Cover Photo Credit: Steve Eason. Licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0