Hung parliament and 70 Lib Dem MPs: What the general election result would have been if we used a PR system

Adam Forrest
A diagram showing the make-up of a hung parliament if the general election had been run using party list proportion representation system: Electoral Reform Society

Boris Johnson would have been denied a majority in parliament if the UK had used the voting system adopted for European parliament polls at the general election, new research shows.

Analysis of results by the Electoral Reform Society shows the Conservatives would have won 77 fewer seats under the regional list proportional representation method of voting.

While Labour would have won 10 more seats and the Greens another 11, the Liberal Democrats would have been the biggest beneficiaries by taking 59 more seats.

The proportional representation system used in our European parliament elections would have left the Tories with only 288 seats, the largest party in a hung parliament – leaving open the possibility of a “rainbow” coalition government.

The pressure group claimed the “broken” first-past-the-post system was now “warping our politics beyond recognition,” arguing a change was now needed to allow millions of disenchanted voters to feel better represented.

“No government should be able to win a big majority on a minority of the vote,” Darren Hughes, chief executive of the Electoral Reform Society. “Something is very clearly wrong.”

He added: “Westminster’s voting system is warping our politics beyond recognition and we’re all paying the price.

“Under proportional voting systems, seats would more closely match votes, and we could end the scourge of millions feeling unrepresented and ignored.”

More than 860,000 people voted for the Greens and just over 640,000 cast their ballots for the Brexit Party. But the Greens will only have one MP in Caroline Lucas, while Nigel Farage’s party did not win a single seat.

Switching to a party list PR system would have huge consequences for the SNP. The analysis shows Nicola Sturgeon’s party would have only won 28 seats, rather than the 48 the Scottish nationalists claimed.

“Westminster’s system is built on confrontation and warped results, but we can do better than this,” said Mr Hughes. We can move to a fairer system, restoring trust in politics and building a better democracy at the same time.”

Election analysis also shows more than half of voters backed pro-referendum parties at the polls.

Nearly 52 per cent supported parties in favour of a second referendum, compared with 47 per cent who supported Brexit-backing parties, such as the Tories, the DUP and Mr Farage’s outfit.