Tories will only win North with PR in local elections

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THE Tories need to embrace electoral reform if they want a greater say in the running of Yorkshire councils, according to a defeated Parliamentary candidate.

Dr Spencer Pitfield – who came a remote fourth to Labour’s Gill Furniss in last week’s Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough by-election – fears the party will struggle to gain a foothold in many Northern cities unless it is brave enough to back the advent of proportional representation (PR) in English local elections.

Sheffield is one of a clutch of cities and towns across the North which are bereft of any form of Conservative representation and Dr Pitfield believes the party should follow the example of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland where various systems of PR have ensured a level playing field for all parties.

“We are not helped by the fact that where we do not return local councillors – as here in Sheffield – we have a further limited local activist base on which to build,” writes Dr Pitfield in The Yorkshire Post today.

“I have long argued that Conservatives should nationally support at the local level a Single Transferable Vote (STV) voting system – a proportional method which would return at least seven Conservative councillors to Sheffield City Council and thus give Tories here in the city the voice they democratically deserve.”