37 redistribution, or payment of candidates' expenses from public funds, that we have adopted an interpretation of our reference which excludes all such topics, and have confined our recommendations to systems of election.
We recommend the adoption of the Alternative Vote in cases where more than two candidates stand for one seat.
We do not recommend its application to two-member constituencies, but we submit that the question of the retention of such constituencies, which are anomalous, should be reconsidered as soon as opportunity offers.
Of schemes for producing proportional representation, we think that the Transferable Vote would have the best chance of ultimate acceptance, but we are unable to recommend its adoption in existing circumstances for elections to the House of Commons.
We desire to record our appreciation of the services of our Secretary, the late Mr.
Robertson of the Treasury, whose ability, tact, and industry were of the greatest assistance to the members of the Commission.
We deeply regret that by his death, when this report was already in print, a career of great promise was prematurely cut short.
RICHARD CAVENDISH (Chairman).
NOTE BY LOKD LOCHEE.
I regret to find myself unable to concur with my colleagues in their conclusions respecting the Transferable Vote.
In my opinion it has been amply proved that this method of voting is a practicable scheme for securing to elected legislative bodies a more fully representative character, ft is only one of various schemes, having that purpose, which we have examined.
Many of these have merits of their ownâ€”I would refer more particularly to the Belgian systemâ€”but I think the Transferable Vote is the simplest and the best.
I can see no reason for holding that it is not applicable to our existing electorate.
I am constrained, therefore, by the terms of our reference to report in its favour.
The truth seems to be that the most formidable objections to the Transferable Vote would apply to any scheme of proportional representation.
They are arguments against the whole idea of proportional representation.
In my judgment they strike at the principle which, for the purposes of this Commission, must be assumed, viz.,
legislatures should have as fully representative a character as possible.
Under our present system a minority of electors may seat a majority of legislators.
A small majority may elect a large majority.
Considerable sections of the electorate may have no representation at all.
It is impossible to say that such a system has a fully representative character, or to deny that the transferable vote would remove or greatly modify its defects.
I am not concerned to dispute that the introduction of proportional representation might involve important changes in parliamentary government.
That, in my view, is not a question for the Commission.
I shall therefore only say that I do not believe that the cause of good government is bound up with the maintenance of a distorted representation, or that British statesmanship would be unable to cope with the problems which a better system might bring in its train.
I concur with my colleagues in their recommendations touching the adoption of the Alternative Vote, and the abolition of two-member constituencies.