Obviously, there are ways of doing this. There’s absolutely no need to have a long drawn out process of redrawing parliamentary constituencies to achieve it. The coalition government has already agreed to PR for the House of Lords. Not only that, but boundary changes have always been made to favour the party in power. The current constituency boundaries favour the Labour Party, but before new Labour came to power they favoured the Conservatives. There are currently 650 constituencies, and I think this number last increased for the 1987 election. Now, the Conservatives want to redraw the boundaries in their favour, with a few Lib Dem seats somehow protected, by being exempt from boundary changes, or changing in such a way to keep them fairly safe Lib Dem seats.
The problem is that Conservative support is mainly in rural areas, while Labour support is mainly in urban areas, and Lib Dem support is more evenly distributed. Support for other parties, such as the Greens, is even more evenly distributed, while parties such as the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP), Plaid Cymru (PC), and the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) are confined to Scotland and Wales. The distribution pattern for Conservative and Labour voters mainly follows the population distribution set up in the 19th and early 20th centuries, when lots of people moved from the countryside to become poorly paid industrial workers in the cities. I don’t know why this still applies, though, because work patterns and types of work have changed, people have kept moving round a lot, and the Labour Party no longer supports the workers or even the corrupt trade unions with their highly paid leaders who look out for themselves. It’s only our broken first past the post electoral system which helps maintain this situation.
At the European Parliamentary elections, various parties were elected to represent Britain under a Proportional Representation electoral system. This means that large constituencies, as well as an electoral system are already in place. Using this system, we could have Proportional Representation in place for General Elections immediately! People wouldn’t have their own local MP anymore, but that could be sorted out later. This is much better than millions of people being left to die or being turned into slave labourers under Jobseekers’ Allowance (JSA)!
Another alternative would be to adopt the German system at least temporarily, but probably without the 5% hurdle before a party gets any seats. It’s a mixture of proportional representation and first past the post. It works using local constituencies as well as the Länder or federal states. In place of the Länder we could use the European Parliamentary constituencies. People vote for a local MP as well as a party list. They choose which MP, which party list and these don’t both have to be for the same party. Without redrawing local constituency boundaries, this would mean temporarily doubling the number of MPs to 1,300. That could be a good thing, though. Can you imagine the chaos this would cause in the House of Commons, with MPs struggling to get a seat on the benches, begging other MPs to sit on their lap, etc. I think this would persuade them to sort out the electoral system ASAP! 🙂