Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Questions to the candidates: David Williams on proportional Representation

Democracy is not a mathematical puzzle. Democracy is about representation and accountability.

As a researcher for Gwyneth Dunwoody I learnt a lot about representing the people who elect you. Gwyneth was a strong supporter of the current electoral system because she believed in the direct link between MP and elector; she represented constituents regardless of how they vote.

That is my core principle. Elections should be about debates and discussions between competing views, but once the balloting is done, the counting is over and the result announced; the successful candidate should put party politics aside and represent all constituents.

In the current climate of mistrust of MPs, it is their behaviour that is more important than electoral systems. It is about whether our elected representatives are open, accountable and honest. It’s about whether they do a proper job of work for their constituents or just parade themselves around a variety of photo-opportunities seeking self-publicity.

If I have the honour of representing the people of Crewe and Nantwich, I will be an accessible, honest and accountable MP. I will hold Saturday surgeries all year round, not just at election time. Constituents will be able to see me without an appointment and will not be pre-interviewed by a member of staff. That’s the level of service we had under Gwyneth and I will restore it.

The more proportional the electoral system, the weaker the link between elected representative and voter. Crewe and Nantwich already has a proportional election for the European Parliament. It is so popular that only 16% of voters participate, around half the turnout of when it was a first-past-the-post system. Hardly a ringing endorsement for electoral reform, but worse still can anyone honestly say they feel connected to their MEP?

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