At the weekend campaigners from Make Votes Matter Stroud took part in a socially-distanced rally calling for electoral reform.

The group is part of Make Votes Matter, a national, cross-party campaign advocating proportional representation (PR) for House of Commons elections.

Under the UK’s current first-past-the-post electoral system, MPs can be elected without a majority of votes in their constituency.

Local campaign coordinators Robin Layfield and Eva Ward said: “Our first-past-the-post voting system means Parliament does not reflect how the UK voted.

"The government has a landslide majority of seats, but this is despite the Conservatives receiving less than 44% of the votes.

"The UK government is one of only a handful of governments around the world still relying on first-past-the-post.

“The way our democracy works can change, has changed and always will change to meet the needs of citizens. It is not set in stone.

“The time is right for us to now move to a system of proportional representation so that votes can count equally, and so that our 650 elected MPs, as well as our local councillors, truly begin to represent the diversity of people and views in our communities and our society. It’s absolutely critical to people’s participation and faith in democracy.”

The events in Stroud included an Make Votes Matter campaign stall on the High Street where people could get information and discuss the issues.

Local political leaders including Stroud District Council leader Doina Cornell (Labour), district councillor Catherine Braun (Green party) and Myles Robinson, senior party officer of the Stroud Lib Dems, gave speeches on the steps of the Subscription Rooms, speaking of the need for co-operative collaboration to ensure that the principles of democracy our upheld and to make sure that everyone’s voice is heard.

In between the speeches actors John Bassett and Emma Wilkes dressed in Chartist and Suffragette clothing, told the story of democracy in this country, and of the fight for rights and votes.

Robin Layfield said: "The dramatic interludes showed how the UK constitution has changed in the past and can be changed again – we have only had the current voting system since the 1950s."

The event was held in a responsible and socially distant manner with clear markings laid out on the Sub Rooms forecourt, hand sanitizer and face masks.

In the coming months Stroud District Make Votes Matter will be holding similar events in other towns across the district. To get involved email: