No-show Mangnall fails to engage with democracy

Our MP’s empty chair was part of the focus of an online, public meeting on the evening of Thursday 11 March, held by Totnes Make Votes Matter (MVM), to discuss voting reform for parliamentary elections to Westminster.

“Make Votes Matter”, a national cross-party campaign group, organised a mass lobby of MPs all over the country, to propose a change of the voting system to a proportional one where seats in Parliament match the number of votes for any particular Party. Many Totnes constituents contacted our local MP, Anthony Mangnall, requesting that he meet online, as part of the mass lobby. Mr. Mangnall declined all of the advances made to him, stating that he doesn’t support Proportional Representation (PR) and gave a number of reasons why.

In his absence over 30 constituents had a Q and A session around many aspects of our First Past The Post (FPTP) voting system and PR voting systems, together with their effects on good, heathy and fair governance of our society and democracy.

It is worth noting here that an average of 64 per cent of people polled recently agree that seats should match votes. (Note: this figure is an average taken from seven polls over the last 6 years. These include Ipsos Mori, ICM, YouGov, and BMG among others.)

Proportional voting systems are already in use for the Scottish, Welsh and Irish parliaments, and the London Assembly, as well as in the vast majority of other European countries. PR was also used for elections to the European Parliament, and may be introduced for some UK local council elections. PR systems: are used in 85 per cent of OECD countries; ensure better voter turnout; and have improved BAME representation as well as a greater percentage of women MPs.

Totnes MVM spokesperson Laurie Taylor said:

“I find it so sad that our MP, who claims to represent us in Parliament, refuses to engage with us on this vitally important aspect of our democracy and one that, of course, is of huge interest to many of his constituents. This, for me, is the single most crucial issue that we absolutely must address in UK politics. The electorate is robbed of fair votes and cheated out of proper representation in Parliament by a now obsolete Victorian voting system that was designed for two-party politics. Society has changed massively; many other countries have adapted to that change but the UK clings to the past. We have invited Mr. Mangnall to join with us in a public debate in the Civic Hall in Totnes but he has refused. I wonder if this is because, deep down, he knows that FPTP is indefensible in the 21st century and cannot stand up to any informed scrutiny.”

To join the Make Votes Matter campaign for fair votes contact: