Could Boris versus Ken save the taxpayer GBP32m?

Could Boris versus Ken save the taxpayer GBP32m?

Why not switch mayoral elections to FPTP?

On May 3rd next year more than one in eight of UK adults will be able to vote in what is the biggest election before the general election. At stake is a position that arguably has more political power than anyone apart from the prime minister.

With Ken bidding to return to his old job and Boris trying to hang on in less than clement conditions for the blues this will be a massive and absorbing fight as well as a big political betting event. And what’s relevant at the moment is that like on the past three occasions the election will be held using a voting system that is a near as anything in the UK to AV.

The ballot form reproduced below sets out how it works. You put a cross in the first column by you first choice and a further one, if you so wish, indicating your second choice in the next column.

I can’t see how the cost of administering and counting will be much less than using the AV system that we’ll be voting on in the referendum.

Given the £250m estimate from NO2AV for running AV nationally on a pro rata basis a first past the post London mayoral election would save £32m – and that could provide a lot of body armour for British troops and help maternity services.

I am surprised that NO2AV hasn’t latched onto this already. They must, surely, have looked at the costings and operation of these specific elections in some detail when calculating the £250m figure.

In the past three London mayoral elections the second preferences have made no difference to the final outcome but if it’s tight next time then they might do. My guess is that Ken would stand to benefit more than Boris.

London is not the only place that has elected mayors – there are currently thirteen in total throughout England – so a change to FPTP could achieve even bigger savings.

Mike Smithson

Comments are closed.