General Information

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Alternative Vote Referendum - 5 May 2011

18 April 2011

The CWU National Executive Council met on 30 March 2011 and determined its policy with respect to the Alternative Vote Referendum.

CWU Policy

To publicly campaign for or against the Alternative Vote (AV), the CWU must register with the Electoral Commission. Given the time constraint, and in the absence of Annual Conference policy on such a major issue and the immediate industrial and political campaigns the union faces, the Executive fel it was sensible to adopt the following position:

  • that the Union should remain neutral on the question of AV;
  • that Branches be provided with material from both campaigns;
  • that Officers and NEC members be allowed to lend their own personal support to either campaign up to the May 5th 2011 Referendum.

AV Facts and Information

The make-up of both campaign teams is cross-party and from a wide range of backgrounds. Of the three main Party Leaders, the Prime Minister, David Cameron, opposes AV, Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, supports AV. Ed Miliband is a supporter of AV.

  • The Labour Party Manifesto committed a Labour Government to a referendum on Alternative Voting had it won the General Election in 2010.
  • Since the creation of the CWU in 1995 there has not been a position taken on electoral reform for parliamentary elections to Westminster.
  • Scotland has Proportional Representation for elections to the Scottish Parliament and local elections, Wales has Proportional Representation for elections to the Welsh Assembly; Northern Ireland has Proportional Representation for elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly. AV is used for election to the Greater London Assembly and the Mayor of London. Proportional Representation is used to elect Members of the European Parliament.
  • The forthcoming Referendum is solely for election to the Westminster Parliament.
  • At the 2009 TUC Congress the CWU delegation supported the PCS motion on a review of the current electoral system.
  • The Labour Party Manifesto of 2001 and 2010 both contained a commitment to a Referendum for a change to the voting system. The CWU had direct input into the Manifestos and no major concerns were expressed on this at any level in the Union.
  • The Trade Union movement has differing positions - some say 'yes' and some 'no'. Others have taken a neutral stance.