Comet country says: No to AV

ALL three councils in Comet country saw the majority of its electorates vote no in the AV referendum, reflecting a national trend which could signify no electoral reform for years to come.

A total of 7,311 Stevenage Borough Council residents voted yes to change the current first past the post (FPTP) system to AV, compared to 17,927 who voted no - 71.03 per cent of voters.

North Herts District Council saw a similar result, with 13,592 voting yes and 30,410 voting no - 69.1 per cent of those who voted.

Central Beds residents turned up at the polling stations to register 21,774 yes votes and 58,496 no, 72.87 per cent of the total.

Voter turnouts were 41.83 per cent, 46.12 per cent and 42.02 per cent for Stevenage, North Herts and Central Beds respectively.

“It was a very clear result for Stevenage. I voted no, and I’m pleased that that was the result,” said leader of SBC Cllr Sharon Taylor.

“I think that in the middle of these tough economic times, it is not right to be looking at an issue like that.

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“When you’re in a difficult time financially, you want a clear decisive government and we’ve seen over the last couple of months that that’s not always what you get from a coalition. A vote for AV could increase the chance of that.

“We now need to get on with sorting the country out and making sure things are back on track in Stevenage.

“I am a bit surprised at the overwhelming number that voted no, but I think it shows that people think there are more important things to concentrate on at the moment.”

Leader of NHDC Cllr Lynda Needham was also against the change to AV. She said: “From my own personal canvassing, I found that when knocking on doors and speaking to people, there were just two in favour of it.

“I don’t think many people understand it; I’m not sure if I do fully. My feelings are that FPTP is the better system.”

Liberal Democrat opposition leader at NHDC, Cllr Steve Jarvis, echoed his party’s sentiment that the result was a disappointing one.

“I wasn’t surprised at the vote but I was disappointed,” he said.

“I thought that the yes campaign made a rather poor job of putting the argument across and that the no campaign had argued their side more effectively.

“It wasn’t a great shock, but that doesn’t take away the fact it was a disappointing result.”