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Chillesford dad to take part in nation-wide Make Votes Matter hunger strike to demand Proportional Representation

PUBLISHED: 17:22 05 February 2018 | UPDATED: 17:47 05 February 2018

Kit Twinch is taking part in tomorrow's Make Votes Matter hunger strike to demand Proportional Representation in the UK.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Kit Twinch is taking part in tomorrow's Make Votes Matter hunger strike to demand Proportional Representation in the UK. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

Kit Twinch, 41, will go hungry for a whole day and night on February 6, as part of a nation-wide campaign to switch to the alternative voting system - which prioritises individual votes over constituency majorites.

A stay-at-home dad from Chillesford is among hundreds to go on a 24-hour hunger strike tomorrow to demand Proportional Representation in the UK.

The event, Hungry for Democracy, marks one hundred years since campaigning by suffragists and suffragettes brought about equal voting rights for some women - a demand for democracy which the hunger strikers say should be revived.

Mr Twinch said he was inspired to take part in the hunger strike having lived in New Zealand for 10 years and spent some time in Holland, both of which have systems of proportional representation. He has also lost faith in his MP.

Mr Twinch, who voted Green at the last election, said: “For me, we often talk about what we achieved from the suffragettes, but I am trying to highlight what they actually got - when they got the vote, that was it. We should pay attention to what they did not get. They achieved a lot but it was just a step in the process.

“I am looking at this thinking people went through hell, and the system is not as good as people thought it would be.”

He added that proportional representation would likely also engage more young voters, as they would feel part of the system.

“Young people are being ignored,” Mr Twinch said. “There is not so much of a generation divide in New Zealand, where they have proportional representation.

“Our democracy needs to evolve, we shouldn’t be scared of progress of this type.”

Klina Jordan, Co-founder of Make Votes Matter said: “It’s 100 years since the first women won the vote, but the struggle for democracy in the UK is far from over. Our First Past the Post voting system denies representation to millions and all but guarantees divisive minority rule.

“Proportional Representation simply means that Parliament fairly reflects the voters - something most developed countries already take for granted. We call on everyone who wants real democracy in the UK to join the movement for Proportional Representation.”

Notable hunger strikers include musician Brian Eno, Labour MP Stephen Kinnock, Former Leader of the Green Party Natalie Bennett, and journalist Polly Toynbee.

There are a number of other events across the country to celebrate this milestone under the banner #Vote100.

To mark the occasion permanently, Parliament Square will have its first ever statue of a woman, Suffolk’s very own Millicent Fawcett.

Speaking about the centenary, Suffolk Coastal MP, Therese Coffey said: “I want to encourage more events across Suffolk this year. Not only was Millicent Fawcett born here, we had the last significant criminal act by Suffragettes in Felixstowe with the burning down of the Bath Hotel.”

She added: “As Suffolk’s first female MP, I want to see many more women in public life. It was great that Jo Churchill was elected to represent Bury St Edmunds in 2015 and I want to encourage more women to put themselves forward for elected office.”

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