Former Lincoln MP candidate on hunger strike over voting system

Former Liberal Democrats parliamentary candidate for Lincoln and Sleaford & North Hykeham Ross Pepper is joining a 24-hour hunger strike to demand a new electoral voting system for the UK.

The ‘Hungry For Democracy’ campaign takes place on Tuesday, February 6, the 100th anniversary of the day some women first won the right to vote.

Organisers Make Votes Matter, a cross-party group, say hundreds of people are taking part across the UK because they believe the current First Past the Post voting system denies them a voice in parliament.

They’re calling for the introduction of Proportional Representation, a system that would reflect the overall distribution of public support for each political party.

Ross Pepper said: “Across many of the constituency in Lincolnshire, people have no say over who their MP is.

“Only in Lincoln has any opportunity to change their MP. Still many people vote tactically to stop one candidate or another winning.

“In the rest of Lincolnshire, over 37% of people who voted, that is over 100,000 people, had no opportunity to change their MP at all. Their vote was wasted as they could not influence the outcome of either the local result or the general election as a whole.

“It is a shameful situation where residents have a far more power say in elections than residents elsewhere in Lincolnshire.

“Every person’s vote should be equal and that is why we need a proper proportional representative system so every vote is equal. This is one of the biggest reforms we need to our democracy today.

“It will show that people can change elections and their vote does matter. This is why I am going hungry for democracy!”

Klina Jordan, Co-founder of Make Votes Matter said: “It’s 100 years since the first women won the vote, but the struggle for democracy in the UK is far from over. Our First Past the Post voting system denies representation to millions and all but guarantees divisive minority rule.

“Proportional Representation simply means that parliament fairly reflects the voters – something most developed countries already take for granted. We call on everyone who wants real democracy in the UK to join the movement for Proportional Representation.”