Agenda item

Notice of Motion

Notice of Motion’s shall be referred to the appropriate Committee meeting. The mover of the motion can outline the proposal and then it will stand adjourned. The motion may be debated to assist debate later if agreed by two-thirds of Council Members.


The following motion on Making Votes Matter in Local Elections has been presented by Cllr Swain and supported by H Cox, Dewhirst, G Hook, J Hook, Jeffries, MacGregor, Nutley, Nuttall and Wrigley


Background provided by Cllr Swain to the Motion:


1. The electoral system used for elections in England and Wales, First Past the Post (FPTP), is not a fair system, because it means that votes do not have equal weight and many votes are wasted. Voters cannot express their preferences clearly. If a voter’s first choice does not win, that voter has no say in which of the other candidates does win. FPTP can elect Candidate A when more than 50% of the voters would prefer Candidate B but some had a first choice of Candidate C. FPTP does not give the best possible outcome.


2. The alternative to FPTP is a system of Preference voting where voters rank candidates in order and all voters views are still considered after rejecting the least popular candidates. In multi-member wards there can be Proportional Representation (PR), where votes cast for parties translate more directly into seats won. There are many variants of PR. “Single Transferable Vote” (STV) is already in use for local elections in Scotland and Northern Ireland. This would give a mix of elected candidates closer to the mix of voter views, a fairer system of representation.


3. The introduction of PR for local elections in Scotland has led to an increase in turnout, which was 47% at the last elections held in 2017. In contrast turnout in the Teignbridge District Council election in 2019 was 39%. This suggests that the improved representation offered by PR encourages greater engagement in local democracy.


4. The council also recognises that 16 and 17 years olds can leave home, can start a family, can get married, can work, pay taxes and can join the armed forces. With elections occurring every 4 years, they should also be able to vote.


Wording of Motion proposed by Cllr Swain:  “In doing so the council believes:


There should be a move to use a system of preference voting including proportional representation in multi-member wards for local elections as soon as is practicably possible and the voting age should be reduced to 16. This would elect a council which more accurately represents the range and proportions of political views among Teignbridge residents.


That PR with voting age 16, should be introduced as the voting system in any further Government devolution, and reorganisation of local government, in order to improve democratic participation and accountability.


This Council resolves:


1. To call upon Her Majesty's Government by writing to the Home Secretary, and the Prime Minister urging them to...


a. commit to changing electoral law to permit such a move.

b. Introduce such a system of voting in any reforms to local government presented to Parliament


2. To write to Teignbridge's two MPs to ask them to call for changes in electoral law to permit such a system and promote the matter for debate in Parliament.


Cllr Swain presented his Notice of Motion.


The Notice of Motion was referred, without discussion, to the Executive for consideration.