Proportional representation for council elections

Ask Government to allow us to run all of our elections under a system of proportional representation.

Why the contribution is important

People need to know that their votes will ALWAYS count, not just if they vote for the least worst option.

Allow people to vote for who and what they want, not for what they don't want:

There are numerous proportional voting systems to choose from. Any of them are better than first past the post.

by user792671 on January 02, 2014 at 10:11PM

Current Rating

Average rating: 4.4
Based on: 13 votes


  • Posted by user428889 January 03, 2014 at 09:59

    Hi Robert

    As I'm sure you're aware, the council cannot legally change its voting system to a proportional one. The government are also highly unlikely to change it for Bristol only.

    Also, bear in mind in 2011 the country had a national referendum on changing the voting system to a more proportional one. This proposition was rejected by the electorate - nationally by over two thirds of those voting.

    It's not something that's going to be revisited in the life of this coalition government.
  • Posted by user538012 January 03, 2014 at 10:53

    Although the electorate, foolishing in my view, rejected PR for UK elections, it seems tolerant of diverse electoral systems at national, regional and local levels; Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland have proportional systems and for mayoral elections.
  • Posted by user412750 January 03, 2014 at 23:44

    I agree with conorjh and the submitter. FPTP is deeply undemocratic. That people preferred the status quo was more an indication of fear of something new. It was a huge missed opportunity for a more representative system of electing MPs.
  • Posted by user479921 January 08, 2014 at 13:46

    ASKBristol, your response is factually inaccurate, AV is not a proportional system, as research shows here:
    If you're going to appear to give an official response then make it a well-research one. Whatever merits the AV system would have had, proportionality wasn't one of them.

    Don't use a "No" vote nationally on a non-proportional system as mandate to ignore calls for a more proportional system in Bristol. Your apparent unwillingness (bordering on laziness) on the matter is revolting to read. If you aren't willing to seriously consider implementation of ideas raised in this "ideas lab", meeting them only with negativity and a killjoy "it'll never work" attitude, then this ideas lab really is just a mayoral publicity stunt.

    It's so easy to say "oh, it's outside of our usual remit, we won't bother campaigning for it". What have our council done to try to persuade central government of the merits of a more proportional system? Probably nothing. What are they going to do about disproportionality of voting systems applied in Bristol? Not much unless we apply pressure, which we are duly doing now. I don't buy into the response from ASKBristol, which is littered with negativity, a feeling of helplessness and a desire to put us off bothering campaigning about this very important issue. I for one will not stay quiet on the issue of electoral reform, locally or nationally.
  • Posted by user428889 January 08, 2014 at 14:26

    Hi dzfoakes
    Yes, you're right, the moderator made a mistake on this one, which we're happy to acknowledge, in describing AV as 'a more proportional one'.

    It is a preferential voting system:[…]/Alternative_vote#Proportionality
    See dzfoakes link as well.
  • Posted by user428889 January 08, 2014 at 14:28

    Hi dzfoakes
    Yes, you're right, the moderator made a mistake on this one, which we're happy to acknowledge, in describing AV as 'a more proportional one'.

    It is a preferential voting system:

  • Posted by user858904 January 08, 2014 at 20:18

    From November 2012 onwards, the Bristol Mayor has been elected directly, and will continue to be elected directly, through a process similar to that used to elect the London Mayor. From 2016 onwards, the Bristol Council could and should be elected through a process similar to that used to elect the London Assembly (i.e. with representation truly-proportional to the preferences of the Bristol electorate).

    More specifically, for Bristol:

    1. The current 35 wards could and should be carried forward, but each ward could and should elect only a single Councillor.

    2. The remaining 35 Councillors could and should be elected from party lists to top-up the 35 ward Councillors to achieve overall representation truly-proportional to the preferences of the Bristol electorate.

    3. The Bristol Mayor (as the political chief executive of Bristol) could and should be free to appoint and manage the political executive of Bristol (i.e. the Bristol Cabinet) on the basis of ‘best person for the job’ (rather than being pressured to ‘find executive jobs for the political classes from the Bristol Council’). Indeed, if a Bristol Councillor were to be appointed to the political executive of Bristol, that person should be obliged to resign as a Bristol Councillor. This is similar to the process by which Barack Obama had to resign as Senator for Illinois when he was inaugurated as President of the US in 2009, and by which Hilary Clinton had to resign as Senator for New York when she took up the position of Secretary of State in the Executive of the US government in 2009.

    This overall ‘Vision’ (i.e. the ‘solution’) would be similar to the overall process used to elect the London Mayor and the London Assembly.

    The process proposed to elect the Representative Assembly (i.e. proportional representation) would be similar to that used to elect the London Assembly, the Northern Irish Assembly, the Welsh Assembly, the Scottish Parliament, and the European Parliament. It is also similar to the process recommended by the 1998 Jenkins report on potential reform of the House of Commons.

    It would be a tragedy for representative democracy in general, for the ‘Mayor’ concept in general, for the ‘Mayor’ concept in Bristol, and indeed for Bristol itself, if the ‘Mayoral’ governance of Bristol failed to reach its true potential because of a sub-optimal constitutional relationship between the Bristol Mayor and an un-reformed (large-party biased) Bristol Council.

    Of course, this proposition would not be legal at the moment. Westminster legislation would be required to extend the London arrangements to all Mayoral local authorities.

    However, George Ferguson (an independent politician, and the current Bristol Mayor) could and should ask for that extension. Such a request could and should be made to Stephen Williams MP (a Liberal Democrat politician, the Member of Parliament for Bristol West, a member of the Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee in the current Parliament, and Parliamentary Under Secretary at the Department for Communities and Local Government).

    By serendipity, George Ferguson and Stephen Williams MP are joint speakers at a meeting on Local Democracy on Saturday the 18th of January from 15:00 to 17:00 at Armada House, Bristol, BS1 4BQ. Perhaps someone will ask what they think of such a proposition.
  • Posted by user718520 January 09, 2014 at 11:17

    Readers of this thread may be interested in this event that the Mayor and a local MP is attending

    Bristol for Democracy is hosting a public discussion with Bristol mayor George Ferguson and Minister for Localism Stephen Williams MP.

    They will talk about the balance of power, their hopes for local democracy and what needs to change.

    To register for this event, please email

    Event: The Mayor, the Minister and You: Where does power lie?
    Date: Saturday 18th January
    Venue: Armada House, Telephone Street, Bristol BS1 4BQ Starts: 3:00pm Ends: 5:00pm

    See more at:
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