Berwick-upon-Tweed By-Election, Lord Lambton whose resignation over the 'Call Girls' affair caused the election - goes to vote at the polling Station at Doddigton near Wooler, Northumberland. In 1973, Lord Lambton's liaisons with prostitutes were revealed in The News of the World. 11th November 1973. (Photo by Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)

The Electoral Reform Society wants the UK to ditch the first-past-the-post system (Picture: Getty)

Nearly 14 million voters getting ready for the 12 December election live in seats that have not changed hands since the Second World War.

Analysis by the Electoral Reform Society has discovered almost 200 constituencies have remained Tory or Labour since 1945 – with the average seat in the UK having been won by the same political party for 42 years.

It also found one in 10 of the 650 seats in the House of Commons – 54 Conservative and 11 Labour – have not swapped colour since 1918, with some having not changed since the 19th century.

Just 70 seats, 11% of the total amount, transferred to a different party at the last election in 2017.

An MRP projection poll by YouGov last week predicted 58 seats will change hands in the upcoming vote.

The Electoral Reform Society’s research shows across the last three General Elections, an average of 99 seats changed hands each time, representing 15% of seats switching colour.

According to the analysis, 192 constituencies have not changed hands since 1945 or earlier.

If the trend continues, 13.7 million potential voters will be affected.

British Conservative politician Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965) leaves Harlow polling station during a tour of his constituency of Epping, England, 14th November 1935. (Photo by Norman Smith/Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Winston Churchill leaves Harlow polling station in his constituency of Epping, in 1935 (Picture: Getty)

Former prime minister Theresa May and ex-transport secretary Chris Grayling’s seats in Maidenhead and Epsom and Ewell respectively have been held by the Tories since 1874.

The Tories have held seats for the most amount of time on average at 47 years, with Labour close behind at 45 years.

Constituencies in the Labour heartlands of the north-east of England and the Conservative ‘safe seats’ of the south-east were found to be the least likely to change hands, with the average transitions 63 and 76 years respectively.

The average number of years since Liberal Democrat seats changed hands was much lower, at eight years.

Dr Jess Garland, director of policy and research for the Electoral Reform Society, said the results showed the current system of voting is ‘broken’.

She added ‘We’ve heard often that politics is volatile and anything could happen in the coming election but even so, hundreds of seats across the country haven’t changed party hands for decades.

‘Huge parts of this country are effectively competition-free zones, with ‘safe’ seats leaving voters demoralised and ignored time and again.’

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip leave a polling station after voting in the European Elections in Sonning, England, Thursday, May 23, 2019.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Theresa May’s Maidenhead constituency has been Conservative since 1874 (Picture: AP)

The society has said the 2019 election should be the last conducted under the first past the post system.

Chief executive Darren Hughes said: ‘Even in landslide years where the balance of power in Westminster has flipped millions of people in these ‘shoo-in seats’ see the same party colours representing them in Parliament.

‘Being trapped with the same representation for decades is not the hallmark of a responsive and functioning democracy.

‘With trust in politics at rock bottom and people desperately wanting to be heard, it’s vital we bring our democratic structures into the 21st century.

‘This election should be the last ever conducted under the rotten first past the post system that has shut so many voices out.’

What is first past the post?

Elections in the UK are run under a first-past-the-post (FPTP) voting system, sometimes described as ‘winner takes all’.

It means the candidate who receives the most votes becomes an MP – and the party with the most winning candidates nationally normally forms a government.

Critics argue FPTP means votes for losing candidates are ‘wasted’ and this encourages tactical voting.

They also argue it means MPs can be elected with a relatively small share of the vote – needing to secure the ‘most’ but crucially not the ‘majority’ of their contituency’s votes.



Got a story for Metro.co.uk?

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected]. For more stories like this, check our news page.

ADVERTISEMENT