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AV: For and against

On 5th May, Britain will vote whether to change the rules for electing MPs. James Purnell, former Labour minister, says we need change. James Forder, economist, says we don’t

By James Purnell   April 2011

What do we want? Protesters for electoral reform besiege Lib Dem coalition talks last May

James Purnell: In its 1950s heyday, first-past-the-post (FPTP) produced strong and stable government, aided by high turnout and elections in which many seats changed hands between Labour and Tory. Since then, the proportion of people voting for the main two parties has fallen from 97 per cent to 65 per cent. Parties other than the big three got one in ten votes at the 2005 and 2010 elections. Research by John Curtice at the University of Strathclyde on these trends shows that—as with the most…

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