LABOUR have been accused of “mimicking Tory policy … to ensure the status quo of the Westminster establishment is preserved” after Keir Starmer came out strongly against reform of the General Election voting system.

In taking the position against a move towards proportional representation (PR), the UK Labour leader is opposing his own party’s membership, who at conference in September 2022 overwhelmingly backed the idea.

As it stands, Westminster elections use a “First Past the Post” (FPTP) voting system, which sees each constituency elect one MP and the votes for all the losing candidates discarded.

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A PR system, like the one used to elect MSPs to Holyrood or MSs to the Senedd, aims to ensure that every vote counts by matching parliamentarian numbers to percentage support for parties as closely as possible.

The UK held a referendum on changing the Westminster voting system in 2011, with FPTP winning 68% of the vote.

But since then, calls to change to PR have been growing, with trade unions including Unison, Unite, and USDAW backing a move.

Starmer has resisted pressure however, with his official spokesperson telling Byline Times that he had a “long-standing view against proportional representation”.

The UK Labour leader made clear he opposed PR, with his spokesperson saying: “He isn’t looking to change the electoral system … It’s not something that’s a priority for him.”

The SNP said that Starmer’s position showed he was keen to maintain the Westminster status quo, just as the Tories are.

Mhairi Black, the party’s depute leader at Westminster, said: “On the big issues, from Brexit to denying Scotland’s democracy, and now on reforming the archaic Westminster voting system, Labour are indistinguishable from the Tories.

"The self-branded party of change offers precisely the opposite – mimicking Tory policy every chance it gets to ensure the status quo of the Westminster establishment is preserved.

“The people of Scotland should not be forced to accept that their only choice at a general election is between two tired parties with the same tired ideas.

“The only party offering real change from this broken Westminster system that is failing families across the country is the SNP who will always put Scotland’s interests first.

“With the full powers of independence we can reverse the damage caused by damaging policies Tory-lite Starmer and Sunak both support, we can rejoin the EU and permanently escape the damage caused by the blue and red Tories at Westminster.”