Multi-member constituencies in the Parliament of the United Kingdom

Multi-Member Constituencies In The Parliament Of The United Kingdom

Multi-member constituencies in the Parliament of the United Kingdom

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Multi-member constituencies in the UK Parliament (and its predecessor bodies in the component parts of the United Kingdom) existed from the earliest era of elected representation in Parliament until the last of them were abolished in the United Kingdom general election, 1950. Since 1950, all members of the United Kingdom House of Commons have been elected from single member constituencies.

Method of election

Three electoral systems have been used to return multiple members to Parliament.

Bloc vote

The original method and the one most commonly used was the bloc vote.

In multi-member elections under this system, electors could cast a vote for up to as many candidates as there were seats to be filled. The elector could not vote more than once for any candidate, but was free not to use all the possible votes. A single vote for only one of the candidates was known as a plumper, and was particularly valued by politicians.

At the close of the poll the leading candidates, with the largest number of votes (to the required number to fill the vacant seats), were declared elected.

This was a non-proportional election system, so it suffered from the defect that an elector using all his votes might contribute to the defeat of the candidate he most preferred. It also was not a system which guaranteed minority representation, as a majority which voted solidly for candidates of one party could win all the seats.

An advantage of the system, at least from the point of view of politicians, was...
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