Saturday, 30 October 2010

Is it time for electronic voting in the House of Commons?

Brighton MP and Green Party leader Caroline Lucas has certainly made a splash since her historic victory in the Genral Election back in May - diving into constituency casework, parliamentary business - and trying to fulfil her pledge to be the conscience of parliament with gusto.

But her latest campaign is hardly one I'd have expected before her election: to introduce electronic voting to the House of Commons.

In a recent BBC interview, she lamented the fact that a dozen or so votes in the Mother of Parliaments can take more than an hour and a half - hardly a good use of MPs' time, she argues.

It makes a lot of sense. I hope the other party leaders, and the Speaker of the House, who (weirdly) is the MP who traditionally gives the thumbs up (or not, as the case may be) to parliamentary reform, agree with her.

I suspect they won't though. When it comes down to it, they quite like these quaint traditions taking up so much time: it gives their party members less time to make mischief by putting their constituents' interests above their party leaders' interests (Peter Mandelson's 'this must be supressed' approach would be harder to sustain if MPs' had more freedom to get things done or, God forbid, speak their mind more often).


  1. Absolutely they should support this.

    I don't approve of electronic voting or counting for secret ballots - but for open ballots it is a massive improvement.

    It would also give a very simple way of enacting weighted voting - which the Jenkins Voting Reform Commission rejected because they couldn't imagine the technology to implement it.

    Crudely this would give Lucas 6 votes in parliament to represent the 1% of the vote that the Greens received...

  2. Hey pop - we seem to agree on something! Ben