When the introduction of electronic voting in the House of Commons was said to be imminent in 2001, it seemed that it was going to become possible for the first time to keep the very simple and efficient first-past-the-post electoral system but to make its day-to-day operation EXACTLY PROPORTIONAL to the number of votes cast over the country as a whole for each party winning at least one seat. Though the basic concept was dismissed by the Jenkins Report, the PFPTP ProFirst version of the 'weighted vote member system' as detailed here has many advantages over most or all other PR systems, including AV.

A decade or more on, with the AV referendum having now rejected an expensive, time-consuming, and only marginally more representative system than the current one, it seems even more worth-while to propose the adoption an exactly proportional system without losing the advantages of First-Past-The-Post - which the referendum results suggest the majority wish to keep. As compared with AV, PFPTP (ProFirst) requires no change to the voting procedure: each voter choses just one candidate. But if that candidate does not win, all votes polled by the candidate are passed to other winning candidates from the same party.

This would be done by giving each MP a voting "power" equivalent to the number of votes received by that MP multiplied by the total of votes cast for that MP's party, divided by the total of votes cast for all winning MP's in the party. In other words each MP gets a vote proportional to that MP's relative performance within the party and the party's overall performance nationally.

In summary, this means that:

  • Voting by MPs at each division in the House would be by card readers in the division lobbies coupled to CCTV "web-cams" to make certain that the face matched the card and the vote could if necessary be verified. The MPs appropriate voting power would be added-in to the "Aye" or "No" count instantaneously as the votes were cast, and at the end of the division, a simple majority "For" or "Against" would decide it: e.g:

"The Ayes 15,443,006, the Noes 12,155,982

..... The Ayes have it!"

  • The actual calculation of voting power per MP is a straightforward spreadsheet operation done as the poll counts are completed. Each MP's count would stay the same throughout that parliament until the next general election or until a by-election changed the overall party totals, when all the counts would be adjusted.
  • The total of all votes available to a party's MPs at every vote in the House EXACTLY reflects the number of votes cast for that party in the election.
  • At each division, as an MP casts a vote it is automatically allocated that MP's "count".
  • Above all else the result would be fair, and could be put into practice without delay. There is no obvious prohibition within the British Constitution on allowing each MP's voting power to more accurately reflect the electorate's wishes.