First Past the Post

A study grid outling the pros and cons of FPTP voting system, with relevant examples.

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FIRST PAST THE POST (FPTP) system
STATEMENT EXAMPLE ANALYSIS
Used in UK General Elections First party to 324 seats Winner takes all
An old idea Predates Tory, Labour and Liberal Introduced long before modern
parties expectations of democracy
Most widely used in world after Party Lists
­ usually ex colonies
Used to be used for all elections in Britain
ARGUMENTS FOR
Most simple of electoral systems Frank Doran elected MP for Aberdeen Candidate with most votes is elected MP
North with 42.5% of votes for constituency seat
Simplicity may encourage turnout
Simple for voter and easy to count Makes transfer of power from one party to
another much easier
UK politics is often adversarial Involving conflict or opposition If you are not in power, you are in
opposition ­ this is what UK is culturally
used to
Generates outright winners Last 7 elections have produced ruling Almost always get government that has
majority ­ no uncertainty overall majority
Coalitions can happen ­ John Major did
deal with Ulster Unionists
Encourages stable government ­ single Gives an overall majority of seats to one Stable government is believed to lead to
party governments party decisive government
Party able to carry out their manifesto
policies ­ don't have to compromise

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Business, especially global does not like
instability ­ likes to know interest, inflation
currency rates over long term
All UK citizens have their own MP In 2005 late Peter Law won Blaenau Voters can hold MPs individually
Gwent as an independent, having been accountable at next election if they are not
rejected as official Labour candidate. He happy.…read more

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No government since 1945 got more than
50% of vote
Does not necessarily produce a result in 2005 ­ Labour 35.2% of votes ­ 356 Lib Dems got 22.6% of vote and 18.6%
which share of seats reflects share of seats share of seats because of strong support
votes Tories 32.…read more

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Government could become dictatorial in Thatcher/Blair governments Is strong government always good
style due to majority government?
Fighting in streets over poll tax
Backbench revolts probably stop this
happening for too long, however
Would War in Iraq happened with a
coalition government?
Need to have concentration of voters in i.e.…read more

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