Both Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage have announced where they intend to stand for MP in next year’s general election, but if locals vote for policies, and not personalities or parties, both could fail.
Conservative and current London mayor Johnson has revealed that he is seeking to become MP for Uxbridge and South Ruslip, in West London, amid speculation he is positioning himself to be the next Tory leader.
The constituency is considered a safe Conservative seat. However, if the electorate were to vote based purely on policies, Johnson could see himself falling behind candidates from the Labour, Green and Liberal Democrat parties, according to Vote for Policies.
Vote for Policies presents users with policies from political parties in specific areas and asks them to select the one they most agree with. Of those from the Uxbridge and South Ruslip consistency that have taken the survey, 22.4% of answers most agreed with the policies from the Labour party, followed by 20.19% for the Green Party and 15.43% for the Liberal Democrats.
Despite being considered a safe Tory seat, just 15.47% of participants’ answers corresponded with Conservative polices. The findings highlight why it is important for voters to consider the policies and manifestos of parties, rather than personalities or old allegiances.
Meanwhile, UKIP leader Farage has chosen to fight for the South Thanet seat in Kent at the 2015 general election. Vote for Policies’ results suggest that whilst Farage would beat the Conservatives in an election based on manifestos, the Labour, Green and Liberal Democrat parties would beat him.
Farage hopes to become UKIP’s first MP and has suggested that if the party fails to win any seats at Westminster next year he will stand down as leader. The party is aiming to capitalise on success at the European elections.
However, just 14.35% of answers given by South Thanet residents on Vote for Policies matched up with UKIP’s manifesto, compared to 21.85% for Labour and 20.69% for the Green Party.
Vote for Policies aims to engage with voters by removing bias and spin and allowing people to focus on the promises parties are making. By doing this the organisation aims to create more accountability, an improvement in voter turnout and a more sustainable democracy.
“Vote for Policies not only tells you which party’s policies most closely align with your own values, but you can also see how people in your constituency are thinking,” said founder Matt Chocqueel-Mangan.
“We managed to get over 1,000 survey results in some constituencies, but for the next election we plan on reaching 5 million people – over 10% of the voting population – so we should see constituencies with results from 20,000 voters.
“If minority parties’ policies appear to be more popular than the media suggests in some constituencies, we may give people the confidence to vote for their first choice rather then the least worst option. Safe seats may not be so safe after all.”
The website is currently crowdfunding to raise money to improve the service and add new features. The campaign had a target of £20,000, it has surpassed this and is now working towards its stretch target of £25,000 before the crowdfund closes this evening, and so far £22,081 has been pledged.
Some of the money will be used to incorporate new features onto the site, including giving users an opportunity to say if they were surprised by their results and how it will affect their voting.