Toppled MP Lynne Featherstone: ‘We need vote system change’
PUBLISHED: 14:45 13 May 2015
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Former Hornsey and Wood Green MP Lynne Featherstone said she wishes the UK had a different voting system after her crushing 11,000-vote defeat at the hands of her Labour rival.
"I wish that we had pluralist politics in this country; I wish we had a different voting system."
Despite the evaporation of a large chunk of her support base, which mirrored the Lib Dem vote collapse across the country, Ms Featherstone gave a dignified farewell speech before about 150 people at the election count in Alexandra Palace.
Avoiding digs at her party and admitting she will now “leave the political stage” after a decade as an MP and 17 years since first becoming a councillor, Ms Featherstone thanked locals for giving her the chance to change the course of history and improve the lives of millions of people around the world.
“I want to say ‘thank you’ to the people of Hornsey and Wood Green, who for 10 years chose me to be their member of parliament, and it was an absolute privilege and honour to serve,” she said. “What I would say to them is ‘you were always my priority’.
“I went into politics, you know, for the right reasons, to change the world for the better, and thanks to the people of Hornsey and Wood Green I really have had that opportunity.
“For me, as I leave the political stage, I would say not just on the doorstep, a local constituency MP, those things like the Whittington [hospital] were really, really important.
“But also, for me, to have had the opportunity to be a minister in government, and to use that opportunity to be the author and originator of same-sex marriage, and the FGM campaign, are really two of the proudest things in my career.”
Fending off a strong Labour campaign, Ms Featherstone’s team fought hard; the Lib Dem candidate for Tottenham, Turhan Ozen, told the Broadway that he rose at 4am on polling day and made his way straight over to help the campaign effort in Hornsey and Wood Green.
Westminster North candidate Kirsty Allan was also spotted knocking on doors for Ms Featherstone as the votes rolled in; she didn’t even attend the count in Westminster that night.
Perhaps acknowledging the backlash from those who backed her in 2010 after a series of controversial voting decisions in the Commons, she said: “Lastly, I just really want to say we had a bit of a mountain to climb, and we didn’t climb it.
“I overturned a 26,000 Labour majority over me when I came into parliament, and the day after I went into coalition I have to say all 26,000 Labour voters who had switched to me wrote to me and told me I was the spawn of the devil.
“But I do believe in coaliton. I actually believe that coalition is a strong form of government. I wish that we had pluralist politics in this country; I wish we had a different voting system.”
Had an alternative system of proportional representation been used, the Lib Dems would have retained 51 seats rather than eight.
Signing off to a round of respectful applause, Ms Featherstone said: “It has been a privilege to serve, thank you very much.”