Boris Johnson’s call for laws to make industrial action more difficult yesterday met with strong criticism from members of the Green Party in the Midlands.
At the Conservative Party conference, which is being held in England’s second city of Birmingham, theTory mayor of London called for legislation to ensure that workers could only go on strike when more than 50% of the workforce had voted on the decision.
“Mr Johnson’s 50% ballot call is absurd for many reasons, not least because the turnout at the London Mayoral election in 2008, which handed him the capital’s premier political role, had a turnout of only 45%.” said West Midlands Green Party’s Tom Harris. “If Mr Johnson wanted fairness in ballots he should be supporting the wholesale reform of the electoral system, not attacking those wishing to take legitimate industrial action in a time of devastating, ideologically-driven cuts.”
Despite agreeing to a referendum on the Alternative Vote system as part of the coalition agreement with LibDems, the Conservatives are firmly against moving away from the current First-Past-The-Post electoral model.
“These days, it is common for far fewer than 50% of voters to take part in local elections, yet the Conservatives refuse to support a move towards any voting system which is expected to revive interest in the electoral process and drive up turnout.” Mr Harris said.
“Perhaps Mr Johnson could learn from the Conservative Douglas Carswell MP, who has joined forces with the Green Party's Caroline Lucas MP, the Party’s Leader and their first Member of Parliament, to give voters the option of full proportional representation at next May’s referendum."
Douglas Carswell and Caroline Lucas have announced they will move to table a series of amendments to the Electoral Reform Bill, which is currently making its way through Parliament.
Tom Harris concluded, “Our current electoral system is clearly unfit for purpose and needs reforming. We must do everything we can to fix our broken democracy.”