Co-op MPs to vote against voting reform

UPDATE: Some Co-op MPs named below have told the News they are not supporting the No Campaign, or they are currently undecided. For more details read here.

Most Labour/Co-op MPs will vote against changing the voting system in the referendum on May 5th, according to details released by the cross-party No to AV campaign. 

Altogether, 15 out of the 28 current Co-op MPs say they are opposed to the Alternative Vote, which activists insist will revitalise UK democracy and provide fairer representation for voters, while at the same time eliminating the need for tactical voting.

The rival Labour Yes to AV campaign has the support of party leader Ed Miliband and a number of former ministers including Alan Johnson, Tessa Jowell, Douglas Alexander, Lord Mandelson and Peter Hain while the No lobby is being assisted by Lords Reid, Prescott and Falconer and ex-Cabinet heavyweights David Blunkett and Margaret Beckett, who is President of the No campaign.

The Co-op MPs currently being listed as supporters of the anti-AV campaign are Adrian Bailey, Geraint Davies, Ian Davidson, Jim Dobbin, Louise Ellman, Tom Greaterex, Mark Hendrick, Meg Hillier, Cathy Jamieson, Alan Keen, Alun Michael, Meg Munn, Linda Riordan, Barry Sheerman and Gavin Shuker.

In Labour’s Yes to AV camp are Co-op Party Chair Gareth Thomas and fellow MPs Mike Gapes, Mark Lazarowicz, Andy Love, Jonathon Reynolds and Stephen Twigg.

Seven other Labour/Co-op MPs had not declared their voting intention as the News went to press, but Labour MPs and other elected representatives are being allowed a free vote on the issue in the spring.

A pledge to hold a referendum on the introduction of AV was included in Labour’s manifesto in advance of last year’s general election, but the poll became a reality when the Liberal Democrats made it a condition of entering into a coalition arrangement with the Conservatives after the May 6 stalemate.

Those Labour figures opposed to changing the voting system will work alongside senior Tories such as Foreign Secretary William Hague, Justice Secretary Ken Clarke and Conservative Party chairman Lady Warsi as the No to AV campaign gathers momentum in the run-up to May 5.

Former Labour MP Joan Ryan, now Deputy Campaign Director of the No to AV group, commented: “This issue is more important than party politics. The Labour party has said that MPs, councillors and activists are free to make up their own mind. 

“We are pleased to see so many MPs from right across the party united in voting No and we are confident that many Labour supporters will be joining them.”

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