Ford annoyed at Secretary of State’s comments on AV

Alliance Leader David Ford has expressed annoyance at the Secretary of State Owen Paterson’s comments on the alternative vote referendum.

David Ford said: “I am not sure that the people of Northern Ireland expect the Secretary of State to go out campaigning for the elections, even if it is only for one or two Tory Council candidates. He still has wide responsibilities to all the people of Northern Ireland.

“However, he should not seek to mislead the public about the new voting system, as people here – unlike Shropshire – have successfully voted with a 1, 2, 3 for nearly 40 years.

“It is simply not true that “the supporters of minor parties can have their vote counted many times”. All that happens, is that if your first choice candidate cannot win, you get the chance to show who is your next choice.

“Far too many MPs are elected with the support of less than half of their constituents. In Mr Paterson’s county of Shropshire, all three MPs are Conservative, yet they had less than half the vote. It is the ‘X’ vote that is unfair, not AV.

“While AV is not fully proportional, at least MPs need the support of most of their constituents. From my contacts, campaigning in different parts of Northern Ireland, I think that most people realise that.”


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