Theme: Political Economy | Content Type: Journal article

Labour, the Unions and Proportional Representation

Cameron Rhys Herbert



| 1 min read

The Labour Party's support will likely be crucial to any major change of the voting system in the UK. While Labour has supported first past the post for most of its existence, a resolution was passed at the 2022 party conference calling for Labour to include in its manifesto a commitment to change the voting system to proportional representation after the next election. This resulted from an effective campaign by activists to change the party's policy on electoral reform. The position of the trade unions, often perceived to be conservative on constitutional issues, was particularly important. This article focusses on the campaign to change the opinion of the British trade union movement. It outlines the British trade union movement's historic reservations about electoral reform and then analyses the grassroots effort behind this movement, focussing on the organisation of Make Votes Matter, Labour for a New Democracy, and Politics for the Many. The article concludes by offering insights into the potential long-term consequences of this campaign and its potential impact on the ideological direction of the Labour Party.

  • Cameron Rhys Herbert

    Cameron Rhys Herbert is a doctoral student at the University of Cambridge, working on the history of trade unions in British politics.

    Articles by Cameron Rhys Herbert