LABOUR is set to debate whether or not to commit to changing the Westminster voting system at its party conference.
Sir Keir Starmer has already suggested electoral reform is not a priority of his. When he was asked if the party would make electoral reform a manifesto commitment ahead of the next election, he said: “No, it’s not a priority for me.”
However, a motion calling for the party to commit to introducing proportional representation (PR) for general elections in place of first-past-the-post (FPTP) has made it onto the party's conference agenda and is set for debate on Monday.
PR is the idea that seats in a parliament or legislature should reflect the number of votes cast and is used at Holyrood and in Scottish local government elections.
The motion reads: "Labour must make a commitment to introduce proportional representation for general elections in the next manifesto.”
It is expected the debate will be held sometime between 2.40 pm and 4.35 pm, with a vote scheduled for approximately 5.50 pm.
Labour's former shadow chancellor John McDonnell has already said he will be backing the proposal, as has former leader Jeremy Corbyn, and has accused Starmer of acting like a monarch over the party's policy on electoral reform.
At the conference in Liverpool, McDonnell said policy decisions were taken democratically and "no one is above that".
However, conference motions are not binding and, although Starmer has previously shown support for electoral reform, as Labour leader he has been more sceptical about the idea and there is no immediate prospect of the party taking on the policy, according to the Observer.
At last year's conference, about 80% of constituency party delegates voted in favour of embracing PR, but the motion was defeated after 95% of votes from affiliates, almost entirely unions, opposed the move.
Three of the biggest five unions linked to Labour - Unite, Unison and CWU - have now changed their stance and back the idea.