European election results: the death knell for Britain’s two-party system?

Ten years from now the political landscape could look radically different

By Peter Kellner  

Photo: Daniel Kalker/DPA/PA Images

Britain’s two-party system is in intensive care; can it be revived? Before exploring the possibilities for the future, let’s examine the clues provided by recent history and the operation of the first-past-the-post voting system.

Last week saw the fifth elections to the European Parliament fought in Britain under the (roughly) proportional d’Hondt voting system. The following table shows how Labour and the Conservatives fared in each election, compared with their support in the following general election.

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