Senior Research Fellow Iain McLean provides comment for The Times on today’s indicative vote on Brexit in the UK Parliament.
Iain works on ‘social choice theory’ – the mathematics of voting – whose past academic proponents have included famous Oxford mathematician and writer Lewis Carroll. Using social choice theory, Iain shows that how MPs will vote is as important as what they will vote for.
In the piece in The Times Red Box, Iain lays out the options for today’s voting and suggests that there are three options that will give a good democratic result: ranking, Approval Voting (AV) and Majority Judgement (MJ).
If Parliament chooses the wrong voting system, they may reach a contradictory decision as they did, for example, in the 2003 votes for House of Lords reform. In 2003 MPs voted on five options, one after the other, and rejected them all including the motion to leave the House of Lords unchanged. This risk with today’s votes would be that Parliament votes against no deal and yet also rejects all the other alternatives.
Iain also warns against confusing processes, such as a second referendum or a general election, with the outcomes i.e. the various potential iterations of Brexit from no deal to revoking Article 50 and everything in between.
Read the full piece in The Times Red Box. Iain also spoke to BBC Radio 4's PM about the Brexit negotiations on Thursday 28 March, and followed up on the second indicative votes on Monday 1 April with Professorial Fellow Ben Ansell in a blog post for The UK in a Changing Europe.