British Conservatives Win Majority of Seats with only 37% of Popular Vote

The British election returns for the May 7 House of Commons election show these results:

Conservatives won 50.8% of the seats with 37% of the popular vote.
Labour won 35.6% of the seats with 31% of the popular vote.
Scottish National Party won 8.6% of the seats with 5% of the popular vote.
Liberal Democratic Party won 1.3% of the seats with 8% of the popular vote.
Plaid Cymru won .5% of the seats with 1% of the popular vote.
UKIP won .2% of the seats with 13% of the popular vote.
Greens won .2% of the seats with 4% of the popular vote.
others won 2.9% of the seats with 1% of the popular vote.

The discrepancy between percentage of seats won, versus share of the national popular vote, is so extreme (especially in the case of UKIP and the Liberal Democratic Party), that there will be increased interest in Britain for proportional representation. Here is a news story about the election returns. UPDATE: this news story says that UKIP, and the Green Party, will now work hard to create support for proportional representation.


British Conservatives Win Majority of Seats with only 37% of Popular Vote — 8 Comments

  1. I don’t find such information meaningful. In the Anglo-Saxon world, representatives are elected to represent a district, a constituency of people. That means that the individual candidate is the primary consideration, and the party only secondarily so. On top of that, the party percentages aren’t comparable, because the parties didn’t run candidates in all districts. The obvious examples, Plaid Cymru, Scottish National Party, and the Ulster Unionist parties, are regionalist, so they didn’t have candidates in the other parts of the country. That means that, in large areas, their share of the vote would have been zero.

  2. Chris Cole makes some very valid points. As mentioned in the original BAN posting regarding the results and the linked articles, this will lead to increased pressure for some sort of proportional representation – hopefully using multi-seat districts (or “ridings”). BUT, at least the system and society in Great Britain does permit/allow/foment 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc. parties to participate in elections without being ignored by the press and actually having a real chance to win some seats.

  3. “IN the Anglo-Saxon world” surely includes New Zealand, but New Zealand uses proportional representation. And even in Great Britain and Canada, individual candidates have no residency requirements, and many party leaders run in districts that are hundreds of miles from where they live. The party arranges that so that the party leaders usually have a very safe seat and don’t need to worry about their own re-election. British votes don’t seem to mind, but this shows there is very little thought given to the individual and primary thought given to party.

  4. Just wondering. How big a vote did Bernie Sanders’ brother get as a British nominee of the Green Party?

  5. Richard’s contention about the primacy of party over the individual is a convincing one, I think. Here in New York, each of the two parties controls a house of the legislature. The Republicans control the Senate and the Democrats control the Assembly. Each arranges districts for “their” house with some regard for the incumbent but mostly with an eye on party enrollment and voter turnout.

  6. Since Democratic Unionist candidates received more votes than Plaid Cymru candidates, and elected as many MPs as the Liberal Democrats, they should either be listed separately, or Plaid Cymru should be aggregated with others. In any case, your percentage vote for Other parties does not appear to be accurate.

  7. Michael,

    Larry Sanders ran in the Oxford West & Abingdon district for the Green Party; he got 4.4% of the vote according to BBC figures. This was under 5%. Because of this, Sanders lost his £500 ($772) deposit (a deposit is equivalent to a filing fee in the US).

  8. One more EVIL and VICIOUS ANTI-Democracy minority rule gerrymander election in the 1066 DARK AGE regime of monarchs and oligarchs — with NO written constitution.

    REAL minority rule — about 20-25 percent — i.e. the votes for the lowest 326 winning Cons of the 650 gerrymander seats.

    The Cons have made noises about having 600 gerrymander seats — even easier to have more minority rule regimes.

    P.R. and nonpartisan App.V.

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