How we elect our MPs and our Governments has a huge impact on our political culture and public life. There are many things a good electoral system should do, but the most fundamental is ensuring that how people have voted is broadly reflected in the make-up of Parliament.
That isn't what we have at the moment in the House of Commons. We use an electoral system designed for there being just two political parties, when in reality we have a multi-party system.
A better way to elect Parliament would be to introduce what already exists for the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly - the Additional Member System (AMS). Under this system, there would still be constituencies similar to what we have now, though they would be slightly bigger. Each one of those constituencies would still elect one Member of Parliament, who would be the person who obtained the most votes (just as now).
However, voters would also cast a second vote. This vote would elect a small number of MPs covering the voter's county, or part of it if they live in a big metropolitan area. These seats would be allocated proportionally, meaning every vote counted and the MPs then sent to Westminster much better reflected the democratic will of the public.
These top-up lists would likely see Labour MPs in the South East and South West, and Conservative MPs elected in Big Northern cities. For the first time, there would not be an arbitrary division between 'safe' and 'marginal' seats. No areas could be ignored, and voters everywhere could make a difference. It would be the best of what we have now, but more representative and much more relevant to the politics we have today.
Jonathan Reynolds MP