The Brexit Party has joined a number of parties, such as the Liberal Democrats, to call for electoral reform.

The Brexit Party has joined the Make Votes Matter movement – calling for electoral reform. The Make Votes Matter project is a cross-party alliance endorsed by the Liberal Democrats, Greens, Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru and now the Brexit Party.

MVM aims to abolish First Past The Post in favour of a proportional representation voting system. The Brexit Party, led by ex-UKIP leader Nigel Farage, clearly feel this is a good way of getting more seats in parliament.

Here are three talking points about the Make Votes Matter alliance and the Brexit Party declaring its support for the association.

Brexit-Remain divide temporarily shelved

The thought of the Brexit Party and the Lib Dems finding some common ground is inconceivable. Earlier this week, in the first sitting of the European Parliament, Brexit Party MEPs turned their back on the anthem while Lib Dem MEPs wore bright yellow t-shirts with ‘Stop Brexit’ emblazoned across the front.

These two parties are the complete polar opposites when it comes to Brexit and other social and fiscal policies. But both have temporarily put aside their differences to unite over the common ground of campaigning for electoral reform.

This is a cross-party alliance and it has garnered support from both ends of the political spectrum. Regardless of political swaying, parties from the right and the left wing have joined forces to ensure that minor parties are getting the representation that they deserve. 

Two-party system coming to an end?

Both of the two major parties in the UK have suffered significant dips in support over the past couple of years. The Conservative Party’s weak leadership and poor handling of Brexit have caused a drop in support while many Labour voters have grown disillusioned by the opposition’s ambiguous stance on Brexit matters.

In the recent local elections and the EU elections, the Tories and Labour lost a number of seats. There were major gains for the so-called minor parties, such as the Brexit Party, the Lib Dems and the Greens.

These are suggestions that the UK’s traditional two-party system might be crumbling. It is considered an anachronistic and inequitable voting system which makes it near impossible for the fringe parties to overhaul Conservative and Labour. An increase in popularity for the proportional representation shows that the public might be growing tired of the two-party system.

Referendum hypocrisy?

The Brexit Party was formed on the premise of honouring the result of the 2016 referendum on the UK’s EU membership. One of the key arguments is that the UK electorate voted for Brexit and the country has an obligation to deliver it to preserve democracy.

Farage’s party has now joined a movement which calls for electoral reform. However, this was put to the public in a 2011 referendum. Fronted by the Lib Dems, the public was asked whether the UK should change from First Past The Post to the Alternative Vote system (a different system involving a ranking method).

This was rejected with 68 per cent of the voters preferring to stick with First Past The Post. Is the Brexit Party being hypocritical, then, when pushing for electoral reform just eight years after it was overwhelmingly shot down? Is this not an affront to democracy just like calls for a second Brexit referendum are said to be?

Brexit Party supporters might argue that public opinion might have shifted in eight years, following some major political events and a lack of faith in the two main parties.

The other argument would be that the Make Votes Matter movement does not necessarily advocate for the Alternative Vote. Instead, there could be a choice of voting methods, such as the Addition Member System, the D’Hondt system or the Single Transferable Vote.

Either way, 68 per cent wanted to keep First Past The Post in 2011 and it is unclear whether that decision was made purely in opposition to Alternative Vote or whether the electorate is indeed content with keeping the current voting method.