The 14 non-Lib Dem MPs who backed the Single Transferable Vote

by Stephen Tall on February 10, 2010

The House of Commons yesterday voted by 365 votes to 187 to hold a UK-wide referendum on changing the voting system next year from first-past-the-post to the alternative vote. The Lib Dems reluctantly voted for the alternative vote, as the most modest of improvements on the current, broken system.

But the party, in the person of Cambridge MP David Howarth, also moved an amendment to leave out ‘an alternative-vote’ and insert ‘a single transferable vote’ – in other words, to ask Parliament to approve an electoral system which would at last reflect the votes cast for parties across the country, as happens in the vast majority of parliamentary democracies.

When the Lib Dem amendment was put to the vote, it secured 69 votes, of which 55 were Lib Dem MPs. So let’s salute the 14 non-Lib Dem MPs who chose to go into the lobby with the Lib Dems in support of a fair voting system. They were:

    Cousins, Jim (Lab)
    Durkan, Mark (SDLP)
    Galloway, Mr. George (Respect)
    Hosie, Stewart (SNP)
    Llwyd, Mr. Elfyn (Plaid)
    Mason, John (SNP)
    Naysmith, Dr. Doug (Lab)
    Pelling, Mr. Andrew (Con)
    Purnell, rh James (Lab)
    Robertson, Angus (SNP)
    Smith, rh Mr. Andrew (Lab)
    Weir, Mr. Mike (SNP)
    Williams, Hywel (Plaid)
    Wishart, Pete (SNP)

Especially interesting to see likely future Labour leadership contender James Purnell among the 14 non-Lib Dem MPs voting for STV. Genuine progressive belief, or clever positioning? Time may tell.

For the record here are the Lib Dem MPs who voted for David’s STV amendment:

    Alexander, Danny
    Baker, Norman
    Brake, Tom
    Breed, Mr. Colin
    Brooke, Annette
    Browne, Mr. Jeremy
    Bruce, rh Malcolm
    Burstow, Mr. Paul
    Burt, Lorely
    Cable, Dr. Vincent
    Campbell, rh Sir Menzies
    Carmichael, Mr. Alistair
    Clegg, rh Mr. Nick
    Davey, Mr. Edward
    Farron, Tim
    Featherstone, Lynne
    Foster, Mr. Don
    Gidley, Sandra
    Goldsworthy, Julia
    Hancock, Mr. Mike
    Harris, Dr. Evan
    Harvey, Nick
    Heath, Mr. David
    Holmes, Paul
    Horwood, Martin
    Howarth, David
    Hughes, Simon
    Huhne, Chris
    Hunter, Mark
    Keetch, Mr. Paul
    Kramer, Susan
    Lamb, Norman
    Laws, Mr. David
    Leech, Mr. John
    Mulholland, Greg
    Oaten, Mr. Mark
    Öpik, Lembit
    Pugh, Dr. John
    Reid, Mr. Alan
    Rennie, Willie
    Rowen, Paul
    Russell, Bob
    Sanders, Mr. Adrian
    Smith, Sir Robert
    Stunell, Andrew
    Swinson, Jo
    Teather, Sarah
    Thurso, John
    Webb, Steve
    Williams, Mark
    Williams, Mr. Roger
    Williams, Stephen
    Willis, Mr. Phil
    Willott, Jenny
    Younger-Ross, Richard
    Tellers for the Ayes:
    Dan Rogerson and
    John Hemming