Labour backs reform of the voting system

LABOUR’S general election coordinator Lord Mandelson last night threw his weight behind electoral reform, in a bid to woo the Liberal Democrats into a Lib-Lab coalition.

“The exit poll suggests people don’t want a pure Labour government but people don’t want a Tory government as well. There has to be electoral reform. The first past the post system is on its last legs,” Mandelson said.

His comments appeared to be part of a concerted campaign by Labour ministers, who hope they can convince Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg to enter coalition talks by offering his party a referendum on the voting system.

Home secretary Alan Johnson, who spent the final weeks of the campaign extolling the virtues of electoral reform, also talked up a prospective Lib-Lab coalition.

He said: “On electoral reform and how we secure the recovery we [Labour and the Lib-Dems] have a lot in common and we could come together.”

Labour’s deputy leader Harriet Harman also appeared to back electoral reform, saying “I think it will be clear that there’s a genuine feeling that we need to change the voting system.”

Tory leader David Cameron softened his stance on talks over reform of the voting system in the final week of the campaign, refusing to rule out talks with the Lib Dems on the issue.

But the Tory party is against a change to more proportional representation, fearing it could usher in decades of Lib-Lab coalitions and keep them out of power indefinitely.