A voting system for the UK House of Commons, based on key principles:
· The seats in the House should be distributed in very close proportion to the total votes cast. This distribution should be done separately for NI, Wales, Scotland and England (the "UK-countries").
· Voters vote for a constituency MP as in FPTP. Parties must be able to put more than one MP on the ballot paper for the same constituency without harming the party's chances either at national or constituency level (see later in article), in order to break the parties' monopolies over candidate nomination.
· Since the system is almost guaranteed to produce coalitions (which reflects the reality of the complex societies which make up the UK), the cabinet seats must also be a coalition representing ALL votes; not just a cobbling together of a group of parties to create a contrived majority and thereby lock out a large portion of the electorate. (See end of article for suggestions on forming the coalition cabinet).
· MPs should spend much more time in their constituencies and much less time in debates in the chamber. Cabinet meetings would be televised and reported by government channels, except for matters deemed to be of overriding national security. As all major parties would now be fairly represented in government and in the cabinet (see "Forming the coalition cabinet"), votes by MPs are only required where there is an indication that the cabinet proposals are at risk of being defeated, or at the discretion of the speaker. If a vote of confidence is lost, a new election is called.
At each general election, after the votes are counted at constituency level and added up to give a total for each party within each of the four UK-countries:
1. Take each of the four UK-countries separately. Within each, calculate the share of HofC seats which each party has earned through its popular vote, as follows:
Any independent winning the highest number of votes in a constituency wins the seat automatically.
Remaining seats (after those awarded to independents) are allocated to the parties, starting with the party polling the smallest number of votes in this UK-country. Divide the party's total votes in the UK-country by the number of remaining seats, rounding DOWN always. Once only the final two parties (the two with the highest total votes in this UK-country) remain to have their seats allocated, split the remaining seats between them in the closest proportion to their total votes in the UK-country.
Repeat the procedure for the other three UK-countries. Announce the results of the awarding of numbers of seats before proceeding to the allocation of specific seats to candidates.
Summary - the procedure described above has now awarded seats to successful independents, and it has determined how many seats shall be awarded to each party in each UK-country. Now to decide which constituencies go to which parties in each UK-country.
2. Allocate specific seats in each UK-country in line with each party's award.
Start with the party with the most votes in this UK-country.
Rank the constituencies in this UK-country by the percentage of the registered electorate in each constituency which voted for the party's candidate. If the party fielded multiple candidates in a constituency, add up their total votes (but if the party wins that constituency, the candidate with the highest number of votes is returned). Work down the list of constituencies from highest downwards, until the party's allocation is complete.
Then choose the party with the next highest total votes in the UK-country and repeat the procedure, and repeat this process until all the seats are allocated.
Repeat for the other UK-countries.
Forming the coalition cabinet Seats in cabinet:
· 6 seats - 2 for each of the devolved UK-countries: one for the first minister and one for a deputy. If the first minister is from the party with the highest number of votes in the HofC election for constituencies in the respective UK-country, then the deputy should be from the party with the second highest number of votes in the HofC election for constituencies in the respective UK-country. Otherwise, the deputy should be from the party with the highest number of votes in the HofC election for constituencies in the respective UK-country. An alternative would be the MPs for that UK-country to elect the cabinet representatives from amongst them, or for the UK-country's parliament or assembly to elect them.
· 30 seats for the English parties in proportion to the popular vote in England.
· an additional seat for the leader of the single largest party in England, who becomes the Prime Minister.
Advantages and disadvantage
This system would reflect the popular vote in each UK-country and it would produce a government reflecting nationwide voting. It would oblige parties to set policy for the whole of the UK rather than just for marginals. It would demand a mature, cooperative approach from ministers and it would expose those individuals or parties not playing fair. It would keep the simple, constituency link.
Many constituencies would return an MP who did not receive the most votes.