Westminster’s first past the post voting system is “failing” Scotland, with millions of votes “ignored”, campaigners have said.

Elections to the Scottish Parliament deliver results which are almost four times more reflective of voters’ choices than polls for Westminster, a report by the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) has claimed. 

The report revealed a 'huge chasm' between elections for the proportionally-elected Scottish Parliament list seats compared to the House of Commons – with voters securing a ‘fair votes bonus’ in representation under PR.   

The study, carried out to mark the anniversary of the referendum on 31 July 10997 which paved the way for the Scottish Parliament, found that the list system has led to a more politically engaged electorate north of the border as people feel their vote matters.  

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According to the ERS’ findings, across the last seven UK general elections the largest party has won on average 75 percent of Scottish seats with just 43 percent of the votes.   

However, the six Scottish Parliament elections held during the same period produced an average seat share for the largest party of 45 percent, from 37 percent of regional list votes.  


The SNP are the largest party in Scotland

The report concludes that the average difference between overall seat share and regional list vote share for the largest party across Scottish Parliament elections is just eight points, versus almost four times that - 32 points - for Westminster FPTP elections. 

Willie Sullivan, Senior Director of ERS Scotland said: "We've long known that Westminster's winner takes all voting system has been failing Scotland - creating a virtual one-party state that sees millions of voters preferences ignored. 

" Compared to the results in the Scottish Parliament that's a result four times as warped in terms of seat share - with FPTP delivering disproportionate results that leave everyone worse off.   

"But we've also seen that there is another way, and Scottish voters have now had proportional voting for over two decades - in Scottish Parliament and local elections Scotland’s voters know that their ballots will count. It's only votes for Westminster that are holding Scotland back.” 


Mr Sullivan added: "Reform is vital if we're to have a House of Commons that represents the interests and votes of the people of Scotland.  

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“Until then every voter will continue to lose out. We need a fair and proportional voting system for Westminster - it's time that our UK parliament followed Scotland's lead and made sure every vote counts."