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Example UK Politics Essay: Discuss the view that the electoral system for Westminster should change to proportional representation

Ruth Tarrant

17th May 2016

In simple terms, a proportional representation system is one in which the proportion of seats allocated to a particular party is the same as the proportion of votes won by that party. Each vote, therefore, carries equal weight, and typically there is a need for a multi-member constituency. Elections for the House of Commons currently use the “winner take all” approach of First Past The Post, which has been criticised for failing to represent the views of significant minorities and preventing smaller parties from having much influence in Parliament, thus ensuring a continued two-party system. Proportional representation can take a number of forms (and is already used in some parts of the UK) e.g. Single Transferable Vote in the NI Assembly, Additional Member System in the Scottish Parliament, and the Closed Party List for elections to the European Parliament. It will be argued in this essay that whilst proportional representation may enhance some elements of representative democracy, it may actually lead to more fragmented and unstable government and is therefore not desirable in the UK’s Westminster elections.

Ruth Tarrant

Ruth has been an enthusiastic Head of Economics and Politics for many years, having taught in a variety of schools and at university level. She is also a Senior Examiner. Ruth is passionate about boosting the quality of teaching and learning across all subjects in schools and colleges.

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