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PR CREATES HUNG COUNCILS

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The number of hung councils in the UK would nearly double under the additional member voting system, according to a...
The number of hung councils in the UK would nearly double under the additional member voting system, according to a report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

The study examined the likely impact of the introduction of proportional representation in local government elections and the feasibility of effective cabinet and mayoral government in hung councils.

Currently 34% of councils are hung. This would rise to between 60% and 65% if voting patterns stay the same, according to the research findings.

'A handful of hung authorities are difficult to manage, but we are now seeing all-party cabinets. Politicians in the UK are perhaps not as predisposed to looking for co-operating partners,' said Steve Leach, professor of local government at De Montfort University.

An increase in hung councils could lead to more coalitions between Labour and the Liberal Democrats, with the Conservatives losing out.

'Co-operation is more readily accepted on the Continent, where they are used to working together. There are a number of Labour and Lib Dem coalitions in the UK, but many of the authorities hung at the moment have been like that for a long time and it could be difficult if groups are thrown together,' said Professor Michael Thrasher of the LGC Elections Centre at the University of Plymouth.

- Political behaviour under proportional representation is available from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, tel: 020 7278 9665.

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