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Title: The Labour Party and the Westminster electoral system
Author: Miles, Jasper Charles
ISNI:       0000 0004 6422 8266
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2017
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A study of the Labour Party and the Westminster electoral system is valuable at a time when interest in proportional representation (PR) is on the rise within the Labour Party. Recent publications on the topic have tended to lack either a thorough theoretical or historical basis. Therefore, a dual examination of the underpinning rationale for supporting different electoral systems, based on theoretical frameworks identifiable in the Labour Party and an examination of the pressures and environment in which Labour politicians have operated is required. In addition, the causes of the rising interest in electoral reform and PR within Labour from the 1980s onwards requires documentation. Many studies on the subject have been works of advocacy, overwhelmingly making the case for a movement away from FPTP towards a form of PR, hence lacking objectivity. Five main chapters constitute the study. The first two chapters explore the theoretical aspects and historical context, followed by more detailed chapters on the Plant Report, Jenkins Commission and the Alternative Vote Referendum. Elite level interviews with Labour politicians has been the primary research method, illuminating the issues, arguments and nature of the debate. The conclusion will stress that Labour considers itself to have a unique socio-economic agenda, unshared with other political parties and therefore remains sceptical of PR and coalition, threatening the Party's ability to implement policies for the betterment of the working class. Whilst the pluralists in the Party have challenged the dominant democratic elitist discourse, the prevalent view is that a general election is concerned with the election of a single-party government. Therefore, the division is best viewed as a matter of principle between competing views on governance.
Supervisor: Hickson, K. ; Tonge, J. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral