In May’s referendum on this Country’s electoral system I will be voting for change.

A vote for the Alternative Vote is one way of supporting the need for a different kind of politics and for learning the lessons from the loss of trust in politics. The Alternative Vote has a number of positive advantages to the current first past the post system.

Firstly, under AV you will be able to vote for the candidate of your choice, and then rank your preferences for the other candidates, if you so wish. If no candidate gains a majority of first preferences, then the candidate with the least votes is eliminated and their votes reallocated. This continues until one candidate emerges with more than 50% support. Your vote will be counted in every round.

Secondly, AV is a fairer, more democratic system of voting. If someone wants to represent your community they will need the support of the majority, and will have to work harder for your vote. Currently only a third of MPs have the support of most of their constituents, and elections are determined by only 1.6% of the electorate; we can change this. AV will increase voter turnout, strengthen Parliament, and give Britain a fairer, more democratically elected Government.

Thirdly, it will mean a stronger Parliament. AV does not lead to coalitions or a weaker government. You will still have a constituency MP, directly accountable to you. With higher voter participation, Parliament will have a stronger mandate. AV protects against extremist-minority parties, and makes it far more difficult for parties such as the BNP to get into Parliament.

I believe that a vote for AV is a vote for change, a vote for: more choice and power for the electorate, even harder working MP’s and a stronger Parliament.

I hope many Harrow residents will back change on May 5th.

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