PACK away the rosettes—the general election is already over in Rotherham, a democracy campaign group told voters this week.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown went to the country on Tuesday, but the Electoral Reform Society declared that the races for the borough’s three seats were non-contests.
The campaign lobby’s “safe parliament”—dead certs for the May 6 poll—includes Labour’s Kevin Barron, Denis MacShane and John Healey.
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The latest betting odds back the ERF’s predictions, with all three of the area's MPs looking huge favourites.
Mr Healey is a massive 500/1 on to win the newly-created Wentworth and Dearne seat, according to Ladbrokes.
Dr MacShane is currently 200/1 on to win the most votes in the Rotherham constituency.
The Rother Valley seat is much less secure by comparison, but Ladbrokes still have Mr Barron at 12/1 on, with Tory Lynda Donaldson at 11/2.
Sheffield Central was the only constituency in South Yorkshire identified as a marginal by the ERF.
ERF has called for a radical overhaul of the “Victorian” set-up. It wants to see the first-past-the-post system dumped in favour of single transferable voting, which allocates surplus votes to other candidates as per the elector’s choice.
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Chief executive Dr Ken Ritchie said: “Across the country we’re seeing a tale of two elections—and two electorates. One that matters, and one that doesn't.
“For over 25 million of us who just happen to live in safe seats, this contest is already over.
“These winners will take their seats in Britain’s Safe Parliament and voters will never be able to boot these MPs out under our present system.
“Most will leave office on conditions of their own choosing after careers measuring into decades. “They are likely to include our future Prime Ministers, our future leaders of the opposition, and all the great office holders of state. They form a class of MPs that are, quite simply, elected for life.
He added: “The expenses crisis awakened people of the inability of ordinary voters to hold these people to account.
“And for any naive enough to think the crisis might trigger a political earthquake, remember these seats are earthquake-proof thanks to our antique voting system.”