How AV would have changed our MPs

Liberal Democrat party leader Nick Clegg and his wife Miriam Gonzalez Durantez await the results at Ponds Forge sports centre, Sheffield.
Liberal Democrat party leader Nick Clegg and his wife Miriam Gonzalez Durantez await the results at Ponds Forge sports centre, Sheffield.
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THE Liberal Democrats would have clinched another seat in Sheffield if the first-past-the-post voting system had been scrapped at the last election, researchers claim.

University researchers calculated Lib Dem council leader Paul Scriven would have been elected MP for Sheffield Central under the Alternative Vote, which could be the electoral system in the future.

Voters will be asked at a referendum to be held on May 5 whether first-past-the-post should be replaced with AV.

A simulation by The University of Essex of how last year’s General Election would have finished had it been conducted under AV shows a very different political landscape.

The Conservatives would have won 284 seats – down 22 on their actual result, Labour 248 – down by 10, and Liberal Democrats 89 – up by 32.

Sheffield Central was one of 19 seats which would have fallen to the Lib Dems and not Labour under an AV election last year, the researchers say.

Together with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s Hallam constituency, it would have meant two of the six Sheffield seats would have been represented by Lib Dems.

In one of South Yorkshire’s most dramatic results last May, Labour’s Paul Blomfield narrowly won the seat by just 165 votes. He secured 17,138 votes, ahead of Mr Scriven on 16,973 and the Tory candidate, Andrew Lee, on 4,206.

Mr Blomfield secured 41.3 per cent of the vote and The University of Essex research claims he would have lost out once the votes of defeated candidates were redistributed.

Ironically, he is one of only three South Yorkshire Labour MPs who have said they will campaign for a ‘Yes’ vote at the UK-wide referendum.

Mr Blomfield said he is backing AV because it will create ‘stronger, more open and participatory democracy’ and every vote counts.

Labour leader Ed Miliband for Doncaster North and Rother Valley MP Kevin Barron also back AV.