THE level of debt our council has taken on is a concern to many people.

There are a range of views across the town, ranging from those who feel the ruling Labour group were left with little choice to look at various investments due to central Government cuts, to those who feel Labour have been irresponsible with public money.

As for various Conservative voices making their feelings known, does it occur to them that their support for first past the post (FPTP) elections could be a part of the problem?

On votes cast in the recent Warrington council election, about a quarter of the votes cast for the Conservatives saw them rewarded with just a single seat on the 58-member council.

Many wards were so uncompetitive that some parties did not even stand a single candidate.

Therefore, we don’t know exactly how the Tories would have performed under a proportional representation (PR) election.

But I think it is safe to say we know they clearly have a level of support that would warrant far more seats than just a single seat, and Labour, having not secured more than 50 per cent of the votes, would not be in charge on their own with a false-majority.

In fact, as Labour have not once gained 50 per cent of the votes at any council election in recent times, it can be argued that a fairer electoral system would have altered how the debt saga has been played out in our town, as Labour would have needed to build more cross-party consensus on key decisions.

But why aren’t we seeing any local Tories publicly arguing in favour of PR?

When it comes to general elections, the Conservatives have been in office for two thirds of the last 100 years, normally as a single-party government.

This isn’t an accident of history; there is a lot of evidence around the world which points to a right-wing bias where FPTP and similar systems are used in national parliamentary elections.

By contrast, PR does not have a bias to the left or the right, which is as it should be.

So maybe in towns like ours, the Conservative party has a conflict of interest between protecting the electoral system that keeps them in power most of the time at Westminster on their own, versus embracing a more representative system that would reward decent hard working prospective Conservative councillors with a fairer chance at serving our community.



JAMES Turner rightly reflects on the council election results and the almost total wipe-out of the Conservatives (Warrington Guardian, May 16).

He might also accept that a proportional electoral system would have given him more councillors and a better spread of views represented at the Town Hall.

It would also have kept Boris Johnson out of power.

Instead, with first past the post, despite receiving just 42 per cent of the vote he was elected with a huge 80 seat majority, it (true democracy) works both ways.

It has also given us a Conservative party at war with itself, with groups such as the hilariously named Nat C’s financed by American “Think Tanks”.

This has left Sunak trying to deal with a 14-year legacy of austerity, Brexit and cronyism.

My Father was a lifelong Tory voter, but that was in the days of one nation Tories like MacMillan and Macleod. He would not recognise the extremist politics of a Braverman or a Jenrick.

In the local elections, the Conservatives lost 397 seats, all but three to progressive left or centrist parties.

Yet the far-right populists insist that a further lurch right will save conservatism – a more extreme Brexit, privatising the NHS, the Rwanda fiasco and leaving the European Court of Human Rights (the body Britain largely created), isolating ourselves alongside just Russia and Belarus.

We were all given a taste of what that extreme future would look like under the disastrous Truss/Kwarteng interlude, and we’ll be paying the price for years to come.

No wonder former supporters are deserting the Conservatives for the centre of politics, or more probably sitting at home wondering why aren’t they putting their country first rather than simply trying to hang on to power.