Skip to main content

Home News News World

Peter Tatchell: ‘I loathe UKIP but they deserve better representation’

By Will Stroude

Peter Tatchell has argued that while he may fundamentally disagree with UKIP’s policies, the party deserves better representation given the amount of votes it received in last week’s general election, describing its single parliamentary seat as an “affront to democracy”.

The veteran human rights campaigner has renewed his ongoing campaign for voting reform following election results, which saw the Conservative Party win 51% of parliamentary on the back of 37% of the popular vote, to command an absolute majority of five.

Peter Tatchell colour

“Much as I loathe the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), the fact that it won 3.9 million votes in the election but has only emerged with one MP is a national scandal and an affront to democracy,” the 63-year-old wrote in an opinion piece for the International Business Times.

“While I oppose UKIP’s extreme right-wing policies, as a democrat I defend their right (and the right of all parties) to have a proportion of MPs that reflects their proportion of votes. It is called respecting the voter’s wishes.

“To deny UKIP the MPs they merit (based on their vote share) disrespects the people who voted for them and fuels public alienation from politics.”

He continued: “UKIP will be most effectively defeated by exposing their ideas, offering better policies and mobilising the anti-UKIP vote – not by the bureaucratic manoeuvre of sustaining a flawed, unjust electoral system to artificially exclude UKIP from the House of Commons.”

The long-time Green Party campaigner added that UKIP were not the only party to suffer at the hand’s of Britain’s first-past-the-post (FPTP) system.

“The Greens secured 1.1 million votes but also ended up with only one MP. The Liberal Democrats lost out too. Despite winning 2.4 million votes they ended up with only eight MPs; whereas the SNP got 56 MPs with just over half the votes won by the Lib Dems.

“It’s a crazy, unfair system that produces such bizarre anomalies.”


Clacton MP Douglas Carswell is UKIP’s sole representative in the House of Commons

Tatchell went on to say that on the basis of votes cast, “the Tories have no madate to govern alone”, and called for people to sign a petition calling for proportional representation (PR) to be introduced for all future elections.

“If we’d had proportional representation for the 2015 election… the percentage of votes cast on 7 May would have resulted in the following number of seats: Conservatives 240; Labour 213; UKIP 83; Lib Dem 53; SNP 37; and Green 24”, he wrote.

“While I’d be delighted with 24 Green MPs, overall this not a result that I would like to see. PR would have made UKIP the third biggest party in parliament. But I’m a democrat. So I’d accept the result as fair and a reflection of the popular will (while still protesting against UKIP policies).”

Meanwhile, David Cameron has already courted controversy after appointing anti-gay marriage MP Caroline Dinenage as Minister for Equalities. Despite her record, Ms Dinenage stated yesterday (May 12) that she is now “fully committed” to LGBT equality.

Mr Cameron has also appointed Maldon MP John Whittingdale – who has consistently voted against gay rights legislation including equal marriage over the last 20 years – to the role of Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

The Conservatives won 331 seats at last week’s general election, giving the party an absolute majority of 5 seats. You can check out the party’s LGBT election manifesto here.

More stories:
Cate Blanchett reveals ‘many’ past relationships with women
Watch: Aussie rugby star grabs opposition player’s package

More stories: