How Labour’s 22.6% Euro votes would have produced 300 Westminster seats
For several months we’ve been warning political gamblers about the risks of backing the Conservatives for the General Election because the way that Westminster seats are distributed means that the system is skewed towards Labour. With the rise of non-traditional parties such as UKIP this bias has become even more acute.
It’s now possible for Labour to be 9% behind on votes and end up with more MPs.
Nothing better illustrates this better than applying the vote shares achieved in last week’s European Elections to a General Election – assuming a uniform national swing across the country.
To demonstrate how votes relate to seat we normally use Martin Baxter’s calculator which has now been revised to deal with Labour shares down to 25%. But unfortunately this does not allow a Labour share of 22.6% which is what Tony Blair’s party got last week. For this we’ve used Anthony’s Wells’s online election predictor which calculates which party would have won each of the 646 seats in the next House of Commons for whatever vote shares you want to test. The figures from Thursday’s European elections were:-
CON 26.7: LAB 22.6: UKIP 16.1: LIBD 14.9: GRN 6.3
This produced a House of Commons made up as follows:-
LAB 300: CON 248: LIBD 62 Others 34
Thus in spite of coming in second place with substantially less than a quarter of the votes cast Labour would have 52 more seats than the Conservatives and be just 24 seats from an overall Commons majority. We do this simply to demonstrate how skewed the seat distribution is and to emphasise how difficult it is for any party other than Labour to come out on top.
The pro-Labour bias shows up even more by inputting the vote shares from Thursday’s local elections which had-
CON 38: LIBD 29: LAB 26
This produces a House of Commons made up as follows
CON 292: LAB 240: LIBD 80: Others 32
Thus in spite of coming in second place and being 3% ahead of Labour the Lib Dems would be miles behind with barely a third of the number MPs that Labour would have achieved.
Of course Thursday was not a General Election but applying the figures to the seat distribution shows dramatically how diffifcult it is for the Tories and, even more, the Lib Dems to get secure a fair number of seats for votes cast. No wonder the party is such a supporter of proportional representation and it’s no wonder why Labour dragged its feet on the issue.
There is a real possibility that the next General Election will be won by the party in second place on votes as happened in 1951 when Labour lost power. At least then the parties were within a fraction of one per cent of each other. The difference now is the scale of what could happen that could make the rows over the result of US Election in 2000 look tame.