A MEETING of the council is set to take place next week which will see a vote on whether the authority should write in support of electoral reform.

Cumbria County Council will meet at County Hall in Kendal on Wednesday at 10am.

And councillor Judy Filmore, who represents Ulverston West, will propose that the council writes to Central Government, calling for Proportional Representation in Parliamentary elections.

Elections are currently fought and win in the UK on a First Past the Post system.

But those calling for Proportional Representation believe it would be a fairer system, where the proportion of MPs a party has represents the percentage of votes cast for them.

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Brian Wernham, Liberal Democrat councillor for Stanwix Urban on the new Cumberland Council said: “The current voting system is called the First Past the Past the Post system and very few other countries have stuck with this system.

“All other modern countries use a proportional system to make sure that minor parties have a say.

“The different parties would have to listen to each other.”

Cllr Wernham, who is the prospective Lib Dem candidate for Carlisle said: “Conservatives have argued that the First Past the Post system ensures continuity, unfortunately we’ve seen over the last few years, nothing but chaos.”

Cllr Wernham said that First Past the Post benefits the most extreme sides of the political parties.

“I think one of the things that’s always said about Proportional Representation is it gives clarity, we’ve had chaos for the last two and a half years.”

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But John Stevenson, Conservative MP for Carlisle said: “It’s only Parliament that decides the voting system in this country not councils, they’re wasting their time.

“They should focus on what their functions are and what they can do for their local area.”

Councils across the country are being lobbied to call for the electoral reform as part of an initiative called ‘Councils for PR’ by campaign groups: Make Votes Matter and Get PR Done.

But Mr Stevenson said that letters from councils calling for the reform would have “no weight whatsoever.

“On the wider issue of electoral reform, just saying ‘Proportional Representation’ is a meaningless statement because there are so many different ways of having a representative system.

“They’re all different and have very different implications. For those advocating electoral reform, they should actually say which system they believe in.”

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