A free election, but not a fair one – by Dr Peter Evans for openDemocracy

So, the results are in, and an unexpected outcome in some ways. Slim as it is, I don’t think many would have predicted the Tories getting an overall majority! However, in other ways the results of this election were entirely predictable, and one of the most predictable elements was that the distribution of seats would in no way match the distribution of the national share of votes. The SNP, with 1.45 million votes, has received 56 seats. That’s 8.6% of the seats with 4.8% of the votes. The Liberal Democrats meanwhile got 2.41 million votes and 8 seats – 1.23% of the seats with 7.9% of the votes.

UKIP: 3.88 million votes – well over double the SNP vote, 12.6% of the national vote – 1 seat. Greens: 1.15 million votes, 3.8% of the total cast, also 1 seat. That’s 0.15% of seats in the Commons for UKIP, and 0.15% of them for the Greens. The smaller parties, Plaid Cymru and the Northern Irish parties, show similar deviations. The SDLP for example has as many seats as Sinn Fein, despite having only 99,800 votes to Sinn Fein’s 176,200.

But what about the big two? Labour, with 30.4% of the vote (9.34 million), got 35.7% of the seats; whilst the Tories – obviously the big winners this time – have 50.09% of the seats with 36.9% of the vote (11.33 million votes). That means the Conservative party has 15% more clout in Parliament compared to the amount of people who wanted to empower them. This gives them just enough power in Parliament for the choice of one third of the voters to dominate the rest. Turnout at this election was 66%, which means that a party which gained the active approval of only around 25% of registered voters dominates Parliament. Read more

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