‘AV Leads to 2nd Best’ – You Should Know Mr Cameron


As the AV referendum campaign gets seriously under way the prime Minister has weighed in against AV. He said that “the principle of one person, one vote is what makes our democracy fair. AV flies in the face of that.” He went on to claim that AV can lead to getting the second best candidate elected and used a rather clumsy analogy with a 100 metres race.

Obviously it slipped Mr Cameron’s mind how he got elected, so let me remind him. In 2005 four candidates were voted on by Tory MPs and Mr Cameron came – second.

First ballot (Tuesday 18 October 2005)

David Davies 62 votes

David Cameron 56 votes

Liam Fox 42 votes

Kenneth Clarke 38 votes

In a process which is very much like AV, the candidate with the least votes (Ken Clarke) was eliminated and MPs re-balloted. Only then did Mr Cameron emerge as the leading candidate, and subsequently go on to win the postal ballot of Tory members between him and David Davis. So does he consider himself the “second best” Tory leader?


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About Colin Talbot

Professor of Government at the University of Manchester, England.
This entry was posted in Whitehall. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to ‘AV Leads to 2nd Best’ – You Should Know Mr Cameron

  1. shodanalexm says:

    Nice one. But five years is a long time in politics. Can’t expect him to keep that sort of thing in mind.

    And, anyway, we’re talking about completely different things. An AV type mechanism might be perfectly acceptable for something as trivial as electing the Conservative party leader, but it’s just not up to the job when we’re talking about something of significance like electing members of Parliament. ;-)

  2. Davy Jones says:

    Brilliant – I’d completely forgotten

    Make sure you send the link to this post to every political correspondent in the media – perhaps one of them will get the chance to ask Mr Cameron about this directly !

  3. Sanguine Smith says:

    Great – I trust you will give this wider circulation through your media contacts, Colin? Though looked at from a different angle this is further proof of the total irrelevance of academic analysis (I mean – asking a politician for consistency – COME ON!) and also the total irrelevance of anything to do with THE PAST – unless it is the ‘Dunkirk spirit’ or something else to do with foreigners. So, anyway, “moving on…”

  4. Flemming Bjerke says:

    We also know that AV may result in the second best government. So, there is a risk of getting the second best leader of the second best government. SVT is just faier to the electorate.

  5. Left Outside says:

    Good post. Not the best argument for AV though,

    Vote for AV and get David Camer…. oh shit.

  6. Left Outside says:

    Not sure of your policy on swearing, censor away if needs be.

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