Voting change would be
fitting legacy, say campaigners
January 6, 2003
Campaigners for proportional representation, one of
Lord Jenkins' most cherished causes, today expressed hope that the
late peer's dream of a fair voting system for Westminster would come
Make Votes Count, a lobby group for PR of which Lord
Jenkins was the patron, said the next six months would prove vital
for the progress of replacing Westminster's traditional
The body - which has not yet made a
decision on a replacement for Lord Jenkins - is considering setting
up an annual lecture in memory of the late Labour home secretary.
Nina Temple, director of Make Votes Count, said: "We hope PR will
come out of the long grass in the next six months - 2003 will be a
crunch year for PR.
"The government is already committed to a
review of proportional representation in Edinburgh and Cardiff, both
of which go to the polls on May 1st.
"Scotland has also decided to
introduce a form of PR for local elections, and there is a consensus
that whatever proportion of a reformed Lords is decided upon, those
peers will be elected by PR.
"So, ironically, fairer voting could
come to Westminster by the back door - isolating the Commons chamber
as the last bastion of first-past-the-post!"
Although the passing
of the Lord Jenkins as a figurehead for the movement will be both a
massive intellectual and publicity loss for the group, Ms Temple
said his commission into voting systems would stand a fitting
She said: "His report was fantastically readable,
amusing and very very strong." "He was the most heavy-weight person
involved in the fair votes campaign, but he was not just a
ceremonial figurehead, he was very closely involved over the last
two years, even when he had his heart operation and was working on
his Churchill biography.
"He was a very inspirational figure."
The constitution unit at University College London is currently
preparing the criteria for its own independent review of PR voting
for the Scottish parliament, the Welsh assembly, and, if it takes
place, the Stormont assembly.