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Rob Bird comments on the 2019 General Election Results

December 16, 2019 3:27 PM

No Liberal Democrat breakthrough in Kent and Medway but good progress throughout region.

The Liberal Democrat share of the votes cast in Kent & Medway for the December 2019 Election was 10.3%. This was a notabable improvement on 2017, with the number of Liberal Democrat votes 4.8% higher than in the previous General Election. This increase was slightly better than the 4.6% recorded in England and the 4.2% recorded across the United Kingdom. Kent & Medway General Election Results - December 2019The Liberal Democrat share of the vote increased in every Kent & Medway constituency apart from Canterbury - which was sucessfully defended by the remain-supporting Labour MP, Rosie Duffield.

Elsewhere, Kent & Medway continues to be very blue with the Tories gaining over 50% of the votes in every Kent & Medway constituency. With most of Kent & Medway having voted strongly to leave the EU in 2016, this should come as no surprise.

Much has already been written about the inequities of Britain's 'First Past the Post' electoral system, with Boris Johnson's 80 MP majority based on 43.6% of the popular vote. However, Scotland is perhaps the most extreme case with the SNP having gained 48 out of 59 votes with just 45% of the popular vote.

It is clear that some from of Proportional Representation would have produced a very different set of results, both nationally and in Kent & Medway. However, it is difficult to interpolate the recent results into numbers of MPs. There are several different forms of PR which could be considered - click here to see Electoral Reform Society website. Furthermore, it likely that the adoption of PR would have a significant bearing on individuals' voting behaviour.

Nonetheless, were a simple PR introduced and voting behaviour unchanged, then instead of returning 16 Conservative and 1 Labour MP, Kent & Medway would have 10 Conservatives, 4 Labour, 2 Liberal Democrat and 1 Green MP.

My suspicion is that the electorate would be far more likely to vote Liberal Democrat if Proportional Representation were introduced. Unfortunately, there is very little incentive for the incoming Conservative Government to consider introducing PR any time soon.

Rob Bird is Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group at Kent County Council