The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are currently discussing alternatives to the First Past the Post system of electing MPs. Here's a few alternatives and the effect they would have had on the 2005 election result.
1. First Past the Post.
In the current system, people get a single vote for who they want to represent their constituency and whichever candidate gets the most votes wins.
UK use: Election to Westminster and local government in England and Wales.
Result in 2005
Lib Dem 62
2. Additional member system
In this system, people get one vote for a constituency representative and one vote for a representative from a larger area such as a county or region.
UK use: Election to Scottish Parliament.
Lib Dem 143
3. Alternative Vote
Voters rank the candidates. If no candidate has 50% of first preferences then second preferences are counted and so on until someone has a majority.
UK use: By-elections to Northern Ireland Assembly.
Lib Dem 74
4. Single transferrable vote
Several constituencies are combined and voters rank the candidates. Members are elected once they pass a certain number of votes, known as a quota.
UK use: Used in Northern Ireland for elections to Assembly, European Parliament and local government. Also used for local elections in Scotland.
Lib Dem 147
5. Proportional representation
One form of proportional representation is the party list system, under which everyone has a single vote and each party has a list of candidates.
The number of candidates on the list who are elected depends on the number of votes the party gets nationwide.
Not used in UK.
Lib Dem 145
Source : BBC News - Q&A: Calls to change the UK election voting system
Looking at those figures, the only option the Labour Party are likely to favour is No. 3 (Alternative vote), which is in turn the least beneficial to the Lib Dems. It would also lead to the Conservatives having less seats, so we can safely say that this will not be one they agree on. :wink: Any of the others would be possible. The Lib Dems would do better, the Conservatives would stay similar, and Labour would be elected to far fewer seats. Labour would have a much weaker position in any of the options bar No 3., which makes me think their commital to any change is disingenuous, and would be like a Turkey voting for Christmas. Electoral reform is far more beneficial to the other two parties.