A third of us voted for the 'lesser evil' at the last general election

A third of voters opted for a “lesser evil” at the last general election, with 70 per cent of votes not making any difference to the result, new research has found.

A different voting system would have cut Boris Johnson's majority. Pic: PA

Under an alternative system, the Conservative Party would have still won in December but the election would have been tighter, analysis from the Electoral Reform Society shows.

Because most voters do not live in a marginal seat, the majority of votes go “ignored”, the pressure group said, at the problem seems to be getting worse, as in 2017, 68 per cent of votes did not make a difference to the result.

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The research showed 35 per cent of MPs had less than 50 per cent of the vote in their constituencies.

In Sheffield Hallam, Labour MP Olivia Blake was elected with just 34.7 per cent of the vote, the second-lowest vote share in the UK. In the constituency, 37,176 votes were for a candidate who did not win.

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Dr Jess Garland, director of research and Policy at the Electoral Reform Society, said: “It is no wonder trust in politics is at rock bottom – the vast majority of people’s votes are being systematically ignored by a voting system that is morally and politically bankrupt.”

“Westminster cannot go on like this – all parties must get behind reform of this broken system at long last.

“It’s time Westminster caught up with the rest of the UK and ensured seats in parliament reflect how people actually want to vote. No more ‘holding your nose’ tactical votes, ignored votes and warped results. Voters are tired of feeling voiceless – and it doesn’t have to be this way.

“This research exposes the scale of disenfranchisement that is happening under one-party-takes-all voting. But we can build a fairer politics, where everyone is heard and your vote counts no matter where you are. It’s time for proportional representation and real democracy at Westminster.”

The ERS backs the Single Transferable Vote, used for elections in Ireland and local councils in Scotland.