Haringey activists protest against elections bill

By Kathrine Santos

Makes Votes Matter elections bill rally
Makes Votes Matter elections bill rally

Several Haringey locals joined the London democracy rally, protesting against the elections bill last month.

The rally on 5th February was organised by national cross-party campaign group Make Votes Matter alongside other democracy organisations.

It featured prominent speakers from across the political spectrum, including John McDonnell MP (Labour, and previously Shadow Chancellor), Tom Brake (director of Unlock Democracy), Hina Bokhari AM (Liberal Democrat London Assembly member), Gina Miller (True and Fair party), and Richard Tice (Reform UK).

The rally came amid growing concern over recent attacks on democracy, including plans by the Home Secretary Priti Patel to use first-past-thepost for future mayoral and police and crime commissioner elections. This will require a change in legislation in the elections bill.

Haringey resident, Emily Dyoymska, who joined the rally with many fellow North London Make Votes Matter supporters, said: “If we want to educate and keep democracy alive, we need to make the system fairer.”

If the elections bill is passed then local residents would be forced to vote for the London mayor using first-past-the-post instead of the current supplementary vote where we can rank the top two choices.

Liberal Democrat councillor and London Assembly member Hina Bokhari AM, who was a speaker at the event, said: “When I see the results of our general elections, and those in government, I see the same old faces, same old values and same old ideas.

“The people in power do not want progress, equality or fairness. The system works for them – and keeps them in power. Proportional representation would ensure that the electorate are accurately represented and engaged.”

Mark Kieran, CEO of Open Britain, was another speaker at the rally. He said: “If passed, the elections bill would compromise the independence of the elections watchdog, frustrate the ability of already marginalised groups to cast their votes, and silence campaign organisations that don’t tow the government’s line. Our system would be a democracy in name only.”

Make Votes Matter, in advocating for proportional representation in the House of Commons, is asking people across the UK to oppose the elections bill by signing its petition: ‘Less First Past the Post, not more’.

Emma Knaggs, grassroots director at Make Votes Matter said: “We are asking people in London and across the UK to sign our petition ‘Less First Past the Post, not more’, and send a clear message to the government not to impose this archaic system on future mayoral and Police and crime commissioner elections.

“This would be a backward step for our democracy and leave millions more voters without a voice in politics, being governed by officials they simply didn’t vote for.”

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