The UK’s debate on electoral reform is in need of historical perspective. Too often, the First-Past-the-Post electoral system (FPTP) used for Westminster elections is presented as a central part of a well-defined British democratic tradition stretching back centuries. This paper challenges this narrative by providing a brief history of electoral systems and electoral reform in the UK. In doing so, it highlights how the electoral system has been subject to constant challenge and change, and how a diverse range of different systems have been used.
This publication presents the personal views of the author and not those of The Constitution Society, which publishes it as a contribution to debate on this important subject.