BORIS Johnson may have a majority of 80 seats in the Commons after last week’s General Election, but the result could have been so different if voting had taken place under a form of proportional representation (PR), seen by many as much fairer than Westminster’s outdated first-past-the-post (FPTP) system.

We in Scotland use a PR system for Holyrood and council elections, and similar methods are in use for polls in Wales, Northern Ireland and the London Assembly.

To illustrate how PR could have altered the General Election results, researchers at the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) used a system modelled on that used in elections to the European Parliament (d’Hondt list PR). Their new total saw the Tories take 45.6% of seats, far closer to their 43.6% vote share and down 12 points from the seats they received under FPTP.

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The SNP – which backs a more proportional voting system and who will also be over-represented in the next Parliament because of the current voting system – would see their seat share move to 4.4% under d’Hondt, closer to their actual 3.9% vote share.

Other parties too would also have benefitted, said the ERS, with Labour gaining 14 seats, the Lib Dems 59, the Brexit party 10 and the Greens 11. The DUP in Northern Ireland (-3) and Sinn Fein (-2) would both lose seats with the SDLP (+1) and Alliance (+2) both making gains.

When the Scottish Parliament was set up in 1999, it was deemed that FPTP could disadvantage some parties and allow a single party to form a government with an overall majority, even if it received less than half the votes cast.

A fairer form was sought which would more closely reflect people’s views and return a fairer match and the decision was taken to use a form of PR known as the Additional Member System (AMS).

This allows people to vote for a constituency MSP and adds other members to make the overall result more proportional, representing more viewpoints in Parliament.

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Each elector is given two votes – the first for each of the 73 constituency MSPs and conducted under FPTP and the second to elect seven regional MSPs in each of Scotland’s eight parliamentary regions. This is where we put a cross for the party rather than a person, after which parties are allocated a number of additional members to make the end result more proportional.

The Single Transferable Vote (STV) used in Scottish council elections gives each elector one vote and they number candidates by preference. Candidates must reach a quota of votes based on the number of seats to be filled and the number of votes cast. If they already have enough to win or stand no chance, votes are transferred to electors’ next choice. The ERS supports a move to this STV system.

Chief executive, Darren Hughes, said: “No government should be able to win a big majority on a minority of the vote. 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. Parties like the Greens and Brexit Party won huge numbers of votes and almost no representation. The LibDems saw a surge in votes and their number of seats fall. Something is very clearly wrong.

“Voters in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are used to using more democratic voting systems – and having more cooperative politics as a result.

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