Hackney is the only East London Lines borough to support reform of the Westminster Electoral system in Thursday’s referendum. Residents of Croydon, Lewisham and Tower Hamlets have voted No to the Alternative Vote (AV).
In a turnout of 34.23% of the electorate, the endorsement for electoral reform in Hackney was by a majority of 10,905. 30,969 (60.68%) voted Yes and 20,064 (39.32%) voted No.
The result in Croydon was a resounding No with 58,475 (67.01%) compared with 28,789 (32.99%) voting yes. There was a 35.9% turnout.
The result in Lewisham was much closer with 50.65% voting against a change to the current First Past The Post system.
The turnout at polls locally was 33.2% according to Lewisham council. Of the 172,573 people eligible, only 57,294 voted. The turnout of 33.2% was down on last year’s figure for the local elections.
In Tower Hamlets the battle over choosing a future way of electing MPs at Westminster was also close with 23,975 (54.17%) voting no and 20,286 (45.83%) voting yes. Turnout was the lowest of the East London Lines boroughs to declare so far tonight at 28.95%.
Opinion polls had suggested a victory for the No Campaign across the country. The national trend of voting was by more than two to one against AV. And the final result confirmed this. The media coverage indicates this is a crushing blow to the Liberal Democrats, who suffered heavy defeats in local elections elsewhere, as well as those seeking a preferential voting system.
It is even being reported that supporters and opponents alike now believe the Alternative Vote will never be introduced for electing MPs to Westminster.
One irony in the debate for a more proportionate system of political representation is that in Scotland, where it is believed a Labour government introduced PR to prevent the Scottish Nationalists obtaining an overall majority, the SNP did in fact achieve this. They won overall control with 69 seats in the Holyrood Parliament in Edinburgh. And Alex Salmond, the Scottish First Minister, has promised a referendum on independence within five years.