Elections will give Scotland unfair influence over AV result, warn MPs

April 20, 2011 - 0:0

Calculations by The Daily Telegraph showed that Scotland, with an electorate of four million, could effectively cancel out the votes of London, home to 5.5 million voters. The referendum will be held on May 5, the same day as elections to the Scottish Parliament and many English councils. There are no local elections in London.

Polling data suggest that people in areas with other elections on May 5 are much more likely to vote in the referendum.
Because people in Scotland are more favorable to the AV system than those in other parts of the country, opponents of AV fear they could have a disproportionate influence over the result.
A recent YouGov poll suggested that 65 percent of Scottish voters say they are certain to vote in the referendum, a total of 2.6?million people.
The Yes vote in Scotland is estimated at 41 percent, meaning 1.066 million Scots would vote Yes. London has 5.5 million voters, of whom only 49 percent said they will definitely vote on May 5.
With the London No vote estimated at 41 percent, that would see 1.105 million London votes for the No campaign.
The prospect of Scotland having equal weight in the referendum than the more populous capital provoked warnings that the final outcome could be called into question in the event of a close result.
Bernard Jenkin, the Conservative chairman of the public administration committee, said the calculations showed that ministers were wrong to hold the referendum on the same day as local and devolved elections. He added: “How many Scots would bother to vote Yes if they were not already voting in another election? How many Londoners will not bother to vote No because there are no other elections being held there?
(Source: Daily Telegraph)