AV Referendum Divides Chiswick

Colin Firth's Yes vote is at odds with local MPs' emphatic No

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The referendum on 5 May, which will ask UK voters whether they want to change how MPs are elected in General Elections, has divided opinions in Chiswick.

The Yes campaign unveiled a list of celebrity backers including Chiswick resident Colin Firth who said: "The referendum is a once in a generation opportunity to change our clapped out politics for good. I’ll be voting Yes."

Under the new system, instead of just voting for one candidate voters could rank candidates in order of preference, and these preferences could be used to decide the outcome in places where no candidate wins more than 50%.

Liberal Democrats have also joined the YES campaign which has the support of Labour and the Green Party however, both Conservative MPs whose constituencies take in parts of Chiswick are looking for an emphatic No.

Mary Macleod MP said: "I am campaigning against the proposed change to AV because I do not believe it represents a step forward in our electoral process. Fundamentally, it is unfair that votes for smaller parties may be counted more than once and may determine the end result, meaning that a candidate coming second or third may end up winning.

“The current system of First Past the Post has historically provided this country with strong, decisive governments and I don’t believe AV will provide a better alternative. Now is not the time to waste £130 million on electronic counting machines and £26 million on explaining the complicated rules for AV.

“In this constituency, candidates fight on a manifesto and have to campaign hard for every vote to win. Every vote counts. If people value a fair democracy, I would urge them to vote ‘NO to AV'"

Chiswick resident Angie Bray said: "AV will not, as is claimed, stop safe seats, but will give voters of minority parties the opportunity of having their vote counted several times, while ensuring that those who voted for one of the main parties only get one vote.

"The problem with this is that sometimes candidates who come second or third can actually end up winning! Not only is it a far more complex system than the one we already have, it is unfair."

What do you think about the AV Referendum? Join in the debate on the forum.

April 19, 2011