This is an attempt to work out how the election results would have looked in 2010 under the Regional Top-Up system for the North East. There are 29 MPs in the North East. Under Regional Top-Up, 23 of them would be Constituency MPs and 6 would be Regional MPs.
The North East is an unusually small region, and I would recommend serious consideration being given to amalgamating it with Yorkshire & the Humber to form a large region like the North West.
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 North East 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. Both the Conservatives and Lib Dems are five MPs short of what their vote deserves, while Labour are massively over represented. The BNP gained a substantial share of the vote and deserved one MP.
Let’s assume that, after the number of constituencies has been reduced in the North East from 29 to 23, the MPs elected under FPTP are still returned in proportion to the 2010 result. That will give us 19 Labour, 2 Conservative and 2 Lib Dem MPs. The remaining 6 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 North East 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 North East 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):
|James Condon||4.3||Blyth Valley|
|Stuart Lightwing||4.1||Middlesbrough South & Cleveland East|
Step 3: Calculate the minimum percentage for an elected MP
Under a directly proportional system in the North East, we can calculate the percentage of the vote needed to get an MP elected: 100%/29MPs = 3.45% per MP.
UKIP, and every other party with a smaller fraction of the vote, is below the 3.45% minimum threshold for an MP in the North East. 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 6 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 23 seats had been distributed under the d’Hondt formula. For example, the Conservatives’ 282,347 votes are divided by 1 + number of seats (2), giving 282,347/3 = 94,116.
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.
|Labour (19)||Conservative (2)||Lib Dem (2)||BNP (0)|
|Seat 1||25,913||70,587 (3)||93,489||51,940|
|Seat 2||25,913||70,587||70,117 (3)||51,940|
|Seat 3||25,913||56,469 (4)||70,117||51,940|
|Seat 4||25,913||56,469||56,094 (4)||51,940|
|Seat 5||25,913||47,058 (5)||56,094||51,940|
|Seat 6||25,913||47,058||46,745 (5)||51,940|
This gives us a result closer to the numbers under a direct Proportional Representation scheme. The BNP missed out on their seat, but only just.