John Baron MP: AV plays a democratic ‘con-trick’ on electors

April 7, 2011

MP warns of close vote


In an article on Conservative Home published today, John Baron MP has attacked the Alternative Voting system as the referendum on 5th May fast approaches. The article can be found at

John said:

“Of course AV is a terrible system. As I pointed out to Nick Clegg during his introduction of the AV Bill in the House of Commons, AV can play a democratic ‘con-trick’ on electors as they can never be sure what government they will get. I asked him what he would say to those Labour sympathisers who were persuaded to vote Liberal Democrat in marginal seats by the slogan ‘Vote Lib Dem and keep the Tories out’. There was no answer.”

“The evidence suggests that this ‘conning’ of the electorate will be more likely under AV because coalition government becomes more probable. Indeed, had AV been in place during the last election, research suggests the results would have been 281 Tory, 262 Labour, 79 Lib Dem and 28 others – the Lib Dems could have formed a coalition with either main party. The fact that it is perfectly possible for most electors to vote for a particular party and yet find that party being excluded from government is the biggest disadvantage with AV.”

“In addition, in the many constituencies where the frontrunner fails to get 50% of the vote, AV gives disproportionate influence to the second vote of extremist minority parties. This is not good democracy.”

“My concern is that we underestimate how close this vote will be. Some on the NO2AV side take comfort from just how badly the Lib Dems are doing in the polls – down in the early teens. But when it comes to AV, the frustrated Lib Dem figure will rise to over 20%. On a low turnout this could be significant.”

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