IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Call for voting reform to wipe out Town Hall ‘super-majority’

16 March, 2018 — By Samantha Booth

The Green Party’s Caroline Russell, the Town Hall’s sole opposition councillor

THE Town Hall’s sole opposition councillor has said she would welcome a new voting system for the council elections, after figures revealed how seats would be divided under proportional representation (PR).

Caroline Russell was responding to figures from the group, Make Votes Matter, a cross-party campaign pressing for PR rather than the current first-past-the-post system, where the party with most votes wins the seat.

In 2014, Islington voters elected 47 Labour councillors and one Green Party councillor, Ms Russell.

According to the new figures, there would have been 27 Labour, nine Green, seven Lib Dems and five Conservative councillors under PR.

Cllr Russell, who represents Highbury East, said: “It underlines that voters did not vote for such an unbalanced council as we currently have.

“Such a huge super-majority on the council has left Labour a bit complacent and often unable to listen.

“I would totally welcome PR at council elections. It means political parties actually have to work together constructively.”

But council leader Richard Watts said residents had “more day-to-day concerns than how councils are elected”.

“We are going to fight for every vote,” he added. “I’m not going to speculate on the election result but in whatever set of circumstances, however many councillors, we will remain an open and transparent council.”

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