Thursday, 12 May 2011

How we elect Assembly Members.

In Westminster Plaid Cymru Members of Parliament, according to BlogMenai in a post today, want to change the way Assembly Members are elected to the Welsh Assembly. They want a constituency list of 30, and a regional list of 30, therefore 6 AMs being elected for each region instead of the current 4.

This is based on the Conservative led Coalition Government plans to reduce the number of Welsh MP to 30 (or 29 depending on how you round up) instead of the current 40.

As the Electoral Reform Society pointed out in 2010 should this change become reality then

“As the law stands, a reduction in the number of Welsh constituencies and MPs in Westminster would lead to the reduction in the number of Assembly Members in Cardiff Bay. This is particularly so if this would also involve resolving Wales’s current over-representation at Westminster, which would bring the number of constituencies down to 30. This would mean an Assembly of 45 members.”


“Such a reduction would threaten the ability of the Assembly to govern effectively.”

The Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011 has amended this direct link since then.

Therefore if the changes to the Westminster constituencies are brought about then a debate on how we elect Assembly Members will be needed. The discussion paper by the Electoral Reform Society - ‘Reduce and Equalise’ and the Governance of Wales gives a detailed explanation as to the options.

I finish with a simple look as to whether there is a bias towards Labour with the current election system. The chart below is for constituency votes, the back columns representing the actual result.

The columns at the front are arrived at by adding all the votes for each party from the 40 constituencies, dividing the all Wales total votes cast by 40, and then dividing total votes cast for each party by this figure.

Therefore based on a simple proportionality exercise the answer seems to be yes, but seeing how the 'Yes to AV' did so badly at the recent referendum in Wales, it will be a brave politician that suggest a major change to the election system.

Updated 17/05/2010- Text amended and note about Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011 added.


The Red Flag said...

Possibly the answer is a serious re-drawing of boundaries at all levels.

Use the Parliamentary boundaries as the 'anchor' being as this is supposed to make them all roughly the same size.

Make the Assembly boundaries and local authority boundaries mirror the Parliamentary boundaries. (Obviously you would in some areas have more than one council in a constituency and in others the reverse).

For the Assembly scrap the list and instead have two-member constituencies. The winner and the runner-up get elected. For each constituency no party is allowed to stand more than one candidate - this will ensure that the winner and runner up come from seperate parties/independents. No limits on independents provided there is no mention of a party in their name unless it is an actual political party.

Using this year as a 'very rough guide' that would have retuurned an Assembly of (reality in brackets):-

Lab 26 (30)
Con 16 (14)
PC 11 (11)
LD 5 ( 5)
Ind 2 ( 0)

This actually mirrors the percentage breakdown of the vote more realistically as well.

Anonymous said...

Best solution, get rid of the Assembly and reduce the number of MP's representing Wales to one.

Just think of the money we'd save ... and I reckon we'd all be a lot happier too.

On the march said...

Today's news from Llangefni.
A new political party in the making, "Anglesey Against Corruption in public Office", with a manifesto of putting people first and rid the Council of its thiefdom image, is to put candidates in as many constituents at the next elections in 2013.
More to come.