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Page last updated at 07:43 GMT, Friday, 12 June 2009 08:43 UK

Proportional Representation?

Andrew Sinclair

What sort of a difference would proportional representation have on the politics of the region?

As the Government calls for a debate, our Political Correspondent Andrew Sinclair has been doing a few sums.

As Peter Snow used to say, "this is just a bit of fun" but look how different the political map of the region would be if the last election had been fought under the proportional representation voting system.

Proportional Representation map to go here

A lot more seats for the Liberal Democrats.

And Labour would still be holding onto places like Harwich, Peterborough and Kettering.

And Phil Hope wouldn't be MP for Corby - it would be Andrew Griffith for the Conservatives.

picture of Phil Hope and Andrew Griffith to go here

But don't dismiss our map out of hand.

Electoral reform is suddenly back on the agenda and the Prime Minister wants a debate:

We should only be prepared to propose change if there is a broad consensus that it would strengthen our democracy enhancing the level and quality of representation and public engagement
Gordon Brown speaking to the House on Wednesday

There are various systems of PR.

Most popular with the cabinet is the alternative vote (AV) system where candidates are marked in order of preference.

The bottom one drops out until someone enjoys majority support.

In a few places, MPs already have majority support; Norman Lamb polled 53% of the vote in North Norfolk and John Whittingdale got 51% in Maldon.

But in most seats, MPs are elected with less than half the vote.

Under AV things could be different.

We have had to make certain assumptions; that Conservative voters would not give a 2nd or 3rd preference vote to Labour, that Labour voters could similarly not bring themselves to vote Conservative and that Liberal Democrats would rather give their second preference vote to Labour.

UKIP voters would probably give their second vote to the Tories; the Greens would probably go Lib Dem and then Labour.

So in Milton Keynes North East, where the Conservatives won with just 39.3% of the vote, they would probably lose under AV.

Labour came second with 35.9% but would probably pick up most of the Liberal Democrats (19.5%) second preference votes and those of the Greens (2.2%).

The Tories could probably only rely on the second preference votes of UKIP who got just 2.8% of the vote.

In Northampton South, where the Conservatives got in with 43.7% of the vote, Labour, with 35.6% of the vote, would probably have held the seat thanks to the Lib Dems, who polled 15.3% of the vote and whose supporters would probably go over to Labour.

And in Harlow, where Labour only just won last time, they'd have been clear winners under AV.

The Lib Dems have been pushing for PR for years; they would be the main beneficiaries.

Party leader Nick Clegg told the Commons that just one in five people voted for Labour and yet they were running the country.

It gives MPs safe seats for life. It is a cosy Westminster stitch-up.
Nick Clegg, Liberal Democrat leader

But the Conservatives, who would have most to lose in our region, are very wary.

It will take a lot to win David Cameron round to the idea.

After the expenses scandal there is a mood of change in the air.

Could this map be a glimpse of the future?

The Politics Show with Jon Sopel and Etholle George on Sunday at 12:00 on BBC One.

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