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New Left Review I/194, July-August 1992


Michael Dummett

Toward a More Representative Voting System: The Plant Report

Reform of the British electoral system has been much discussed in recent years. It is advocated by all centre parties—by the present Liberal Democrat Party, by its predecessors the Liberal and the Social Democrat Parties, and by the Green Party as well. The Labour Party, as a body, has maintained an aloof attitude, though it contains some strong advocates, as well as some strong opponents, of reform; but there have been clear indications that the Party might change its official stance on the matter. The clearest of these was the setting up in November 1990 of a Working Group, under the chairmanship of Professor Raymond Plant of Southampton University, to review the whole question. The Working Group has eighteen members, all Labour Party supporters, including six Labour mps, one of them Bryan Gould, two Labour members of the House of Lords, and one Labour mep. The present Report, issued in July 1991, is thus a good indication of current thinking on this issue within the Labour Party: though it is unfortunately not well known, it ought therefore to be widely studied. [1] The Plant Report by a working party on Electoral Reform, chaired by Professor Raymond Plant and sponsored by the Labour Party: Guardian Studies, Volume 3, 1991.

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