This is an attempt to work out how the election results would have looked in 2010 under the Regional Top-Up system for the Eastern region. There are 58 MPs in the Eastern region. Under Regional Top-Up, 44 of them would be Constituency MPs and 14 would be Regional MPs.
It is worth remembering that the smaller parties may not have stood in every seat, so their total vote is less than it would have been under Regional Top-Up. RTU allows parties to appear on every ballot in a region, even if there is no local candidate, as long as the party has candidates in at least 1/3 of the seats. Hence the electorate would have a much more even choice across every region.
This is how the Eastern region looked after the 2010 election:
|Party||Current MPs||Total votes||Percentage||MPs under PR|
The above table includes a column for how the number of MPs should look (roughly) under a directly proportional system. The Lib Dems and Labour are both a whopping ten MPs short of what their vote deserves, while the Tories have nearly twice as many MPs as they would under a pure PR system. UKIP also had enough support to justify two or three MPs in Westminster, and the BNP should have one person elected.
Let’s assume that, after the number of constituencies has been reduced in the Eastern Region from 58 to 44, the MPs elected under FPTP are still returned in proportion to the 2010 result. That will give us 39 Conservative, 3 Lib Dem and 2 Labour MPs. The remaining 14 will be Regional MPs (RMPs).
Step 1: Add up the votes for each party
We have already done this at the top of this page; the table includes the total votes across the Eastern Region for each of the major parties.
Step 2: Create Party Lists
If this were for real we would look at all of the candidates for each party across the Eastern Region region, and list them in order of the percentage of the vote they received (grouped by party), removing those who were successfully elected. Each party should end up with a list of candidates in order of public popularity.
For example, the UKIP list would look like this (for the top five):
|Robert Brown||8.3||Cambridgeshire North West|
|David Campbell Bannerman||7.1||Suffolk South|
Step 3: Calculate the minimum percentage for an elected MP
Under a directly proportional system in the Eastern Region, we can calculate the percentage of the vote needed to get an MP elected: 100%/58MPs = 1.72% per MP.
The Green Party, and every other party with a smaller fraction of the vote, is below the 1.72% minimum threshold for an MP in the Eastern Region. We can now discount all of those parties from the following calculations.
Step 4: Assign the Regional seats
We use the d’Hondt system to distribute the 12 Regional MP seats. The maths gets a little awkward to follow here, so if you aren’t interested, skip to the last couple of lines of the table below to see how the seats are distributed proportionally.
Note that we use the number of seats won under FPTP as the starting number of seats for each party. This requires an initial step to convert the total votes into the equivalent tally as if the first 44 seats had been distributed under the d’Hondt formula. For example, the Conservatives’ 1,356,739 votes are divided by 1 + number of seats (39), giving 1,356,739/40 = 33,918.
The numbers in red indicate which party gains the seat. The number in brackets indicates the number of seats held at each stage of the calculation.
|Conservative (39)||Lib Dem (3)||Labour (2)||UKIP (0)||BNP (0)|
|Seat 1||33,918||173,233||141,145 (3)||123,975||59,505|
|Seat 2||33,918||138,586 (4)||141,145||123,975||59,505|
|Seat 3||33,918||138,586||112,916 (4)||123,975||59,505|
|Seat 4||33,918||115,489 (5)||112,916||123,975||59,505|
|Seat 5||33,918||115,489||112,916||61,987 (1)||59,505|
|Seat 6||33,918||98,990 (6)||112,916||61,987||59,505|
|Seat 7||33,918||98,990||94,097 (5)||61,987||59,505|
|Seat 8||33,918||86,616 (7)||94,097||61,987||59,505|
|Seat 9||33,918||86,616||80,654 (6)||61,987||59,505|
|Seat 10||33,918||76,992 (8)||80,654||61,987||59,505|
|Seat 11||33,918||76,992||70,572 (7)||61,987||59,505|
|Seat 12||33,918||69,293 (9)||70,572||61,987||59,505|
|Seat 13||33,918||69,293||62,731 (8)||61,987||59,505|
|Seat 14||33,918||62,994 (10)||62,731||61,987||59,505|
This gives us a result closer to the numbers under a direct Proportional Representation scheme. Although the result is more proportional to the vote, it does highlight one of the flaws in all top-up systems; they cannot completely rectify results that are so skewed in the first place.