Did Peter Tatchell just say he wants more UKIP MPs?
Despite saying he “loathes” the UK Independence Party (UKIP), human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has said it is a “national disgrace” that the party only has one MP after last week’s general election.
In a statement released today, Mr Tatchell calls for “a fair voting system”, and condemns the first past the post, noting that UKIP won 3.9 million votes in the election, but only kept one MP, Douglas Carswell.
“While I oppose UKIP’s extreme right-wing policies, as a democrat I defend their right (and the right of all parties) to have a proportion of MPs that reflects their proportion of votes. It is called respecting the voter’s wishes. To deny UKIP the MPs they merit (based on their vote share) disrespects the people who voted for them and fuels public alienation from politics,” Mr Tatchell wrote.
He continued to say: “UKIP will be most effectively defeated by exposing their ideas,” and not through “the bureaucratic manoeuvre of sustaining a flawed, unjust electoral system to artificially exclude UKIP from the House of Commons.”
Mr Tatchell also noted the battle for a fair voting system, but said FPTP was a system “that perverts the people’s will.”
The Green Party, of which Mr Tatchell is a supporter, also lost out due to the current electoral system, he said, noting that the party gained 1.1 million votes last Friday, but similarly only one MP.
He went on to say the Lib Dems should have had more MPs than eight, after winning 2.4 million votes, compared to the 56 SNP MPs, despite the party only gaining around half the votes of the former.
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The Tories, he wrote, were “massively over-represented, with 51% of the seats, despite securing just 37% of the vote. He said the same of Labour, and said he had supported electoral reform for three decades, rather than just now because of the Tory majority.
“On this basis, the Tories have no mandate and no legitimacy to govern alone. David Cameron is yet another Prime Minister who rules with the support of a tiny minority of voters and eligible electors.”
Advocating for coalition governments, Mr Tatchell said parties should not expect to “ram through” their policies without winning a majority of the vote, and said coalitions may be the answer.
“I want a radical Green government but only if there is a majority in favour – not off the back of a distorted, biased electoral system,” he wrote.
Mr Tatchell called on supporters to sign a petition calling for electoral reform.