14 million voters in ‘one party fiefdoms’

New research by the Electoral Reform Society has found that nearly 14 million voters are in seats that have not changed party hands since the Second World War.

The study shows that some seats have not changed party hands since the 19th century, when equivalent predecessor seats are taken into account. The average seat has not changed hands for 42 years, while 11 Labour and 54 Conservative seats haven’t changed party hands in over a century.

According to YouGov’s MRP projection, December’s poll could see just 58 seats change hands, after the ERS found that only 70 seats – 11 per cent of the total – changed party at the last election, a figure which has been declining in recent years.

The figures indicate that 192 seats haven’t changed hands since  1945 or earlier, representing 30 per cent of seats and potentially affecting 13,7 million potential voters on 12 December. Of that, 65 seats haven’t changed hands since 1918 or earlier (10 per cent of seats) – affecting 4.8 million potential voters this election.

Darren Hughes, chief executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said: “Even in landslide years where the balance of power in Westminster has flipped millions of people in these ‘shoe-in seats’ see the same party colours representing them in Parliament. Being trapped with the same representation for decades is not the hallmark of a responsive and functioning democracy.

“With trust in politics at rock bottom and people desperately wanting to be heard, it’s vital we bring our democratic structures into the 21st century. This election should be the last ever conducted under the rotten First Past the Post system that has shut so many voices out. With millions of votes set to go to waste in this coming election it’s about time the whole UK backed the reforms we’ve seen in Wales and Scotland and help build a better, more representative democracy.”