Someone remarked on BBC Radio 4 this morning that there were very few working class MPs and there should be more so that Parliament would be more representative. The Labour Party, which used to select working class candidates from trades unions, now selects mainly from graduates and very few have ever been manual workers.
He did not say, although he could have said, that there should be more Liberal Democrat and Green MPs and some UKIP MPs so that Parliament would be more representative.
The easiest way to produce more working class MPs would be for parties to select more working class candidates for safe seats. Similarly, parties could produce more black, female and Muslim MPs by selecting black, female and Muslim candidates for safe seats.
But why should parties foist working class, black, female and Muslim MPs on constituencies any more than they now foist middle class, white, male and Christian MPs on constituencies?
Voters themselves should be able to choose their own MPs, which they cannot effectively do with the present First Past The Post (winner takes all) voting system. Nor would they be able to choose their own MPs under most proportional systems, but there is one exception.
The Single Transferable Vote (STV) system would encourage parties to nominate a broad range of candidates to widen the party’s appeal and maximize its votes. From that broad range, voters would be able to decide for themselves whether they wanted a working or middle class MP, a black or white MP etc.
STV alone would reduce party power and increase voters’ power to choose the MPs that THEY want.