A REALITY has been accepted by Labour party members that when the party does finally return to Government after another long spell in opposition, it needs to legislate to reform the current winner-takes-all electoral system known as first past the post (FPTP) and introduce proportional representation (PR).

This reality saw party members support a conference motion just last year, and Labour’s recent conference this year saw plenty of activity outside the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool, with activists from a few pro-PR groups like Make Votes Matter and Get PR Done making their presence felt in a friendly manner.

However, the battle within Labour goes on as the Labour leadership refuses to give a firm commitment to legislate for PR.

The recent general election in New Zealand should serve as a warning though to those people in the UK Labour party who may feel it is in the party’s interest to keep FPTP intact, despite a National Party (conservative) victory under a type of proportional system which the UK Labour leadership appears to be resisting.

Unless we become an undemocratic, single-party, left-wing dictatorship, Labour is never going to be in Government all of the time anyway.

Indeed, many left-leaning British voters just a couple of years ago were lauding the then New Zealand Labour PM Jacinda Ardern as the answer to so much.

The incoming National Party in New Zealand is going to be entering into coalition with one or maybe two other parties to form a Government.

But is that not better than the normal scenario we get under FPTP in the UK when we get a swing to right, which often sees the UK Conservatives in power on their own with a majority of the seats despite a minority of the votes?

Since Labour replaced the old Liberal party as the second party in Britain’s FPTP system in 1922, Labour has only governed Britain for a third of the time.

New Zealand also used to use FPTP for its general elections, before introducing a form of PR in time for the 1996 election.

The New Zealand Labour party’s record from 1949 to 1996 under FPTP was remarkably similar to that of its UK counterpart, only governing for 12 out of 47 years.

Assuming National does serve a full three-year term until 2026, both main New Zealand parties will have governed for 50 per cent of the time since 1996.

So, does UK Labour want to do the right thing? If they do not, when the pendulum does swing again, the next Labour Government under FPTP could once more be just a brief interruption in a Conservative hegemony.