Readers may remember that I wrote recently of the ludicrous system for replacing my late Liberal Democrat colleague, Robert Methuen, who sadly died this summer.
Despite a choice of some thirteen Conservatives and Crossbenchers, the forces of convention did manage to elect a Liberal Democrat. Our new colleague will be Raymond Asquith, otherwise known as the Earl of Oxford and Asquith, and descendant of the distinguished Liberal Prime Minister. He was elected by the Alternative Vote procedure, though he was succeeded in gaining 50%+ of the first preference votes, so no reallocation of the votes of lower scoring candidates was required.
Still no complaints, however, from arch opponents of the Alternative Vote system on all sides of the Lords, that we have the benefit of its use here in the House. With fifteen candidates, even they recognise that first past the post could, in extremis, mean that someone is elected on less than 7%, without second preferences available as a means of determining who really enjoys majority support. The AV opponents may well argue that this is less likely in parliamentary constituencies, but with more parties commanding support nationally, that assumption could yet prove flawed. Watch this space!