Today’s vote: Last chance to say No

Today millions of voters in the North East are voting on whether we adopt the Alternative Vote (AV) system for choosing MPs. I am writing to give North East voters three key reasons to vote ‘No’ to AV and keep our tried and tested first-past-the-post system.

Firstly, democracy is based on the principle of ‘one person, one vote’. AV would destroy this principle by giving extra votes to the supporters of extreme and minority parties. Why should fascists and communists get more votes than the rest of us?

Secondly, first-past-the-post is tried, tested, clear and simple; the person with the most vote wins. But under AV, the person finishing second or third could win because they are the second choice of supporters of the least popular candidates. This flies in the face of common sense and fairness.

Thirdly, the alternative vote system will cost £250 million to implement when money is badly needed for frontline public services. It is worrying that the ballot counting machines likely to be used by councils to cope with AV are manufactured by the Electoral Reform Society, which is bankrolling the Yes campaign.

North East Lib Dems are desperate to get AV for their own narrow party interest, not the best interests of voters. They insisted on this referendum as a condition of joining the Coalition. They could have kept to their tuition fees election pledge, but instead they asked for AV.

Vote No to AV today to ensure that this miserable little compromise is not the electoral reform we end up with. The British voter deserves better. We must vote to keep one person, one vote, provided by current system which our own North East hero Earl Grey fought for.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan

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