UK 11 May 2010 Roy Jenkins would never have settled for AV Liberal icon warned that the Alternative Vote can prove even less proportional than first-past-the-p Sign up for our weekly email * Print HTML As I predicted they would, the Tories have now offered the Lib Dems a referendum on the Alternative Vote as part of a last-ditch effort to secure a coalition agreement. With this in mind, it's worth looking back at the verdict of the Jenkins commission on electoral reform, led by the great liberal icon Roy Jenkins, on AV. The 1998 report said: AV on its own suffers from a stark objection. It offers little prospect of a move towards greater proportionality, and in some circumstances, and those the ones which certainly prevailed at the last election and may well do so for at least the next one, it is even less proportional than FPTP. Simulations of how the 1997 result might have come out under AV suggest that it would have significantly increased the size of the already swollen Labour majority. A "best guess" projection of the shape of the current parliament under AV suggests on one highly reputable estimate the following outcome, with the actual FPTP figures given in brackets after the projected figures: Labour 452 (419), Conservative 96 (165), Liberal Democrats 82 (46), others 29 (29). The overall Labour majority could thus have risen from  to 245 . . . Were we to rerun last week's election under AV, the result would not be quite so distorted. But the Lib Dems, who won 23 per cent of the vote, would still end up with just 12 per cent of the seats (79, up from 57). By contrast, under the Single Transferable Vote, the proportional system favoured by the party, they would win 162 seats. It's hard to imagine Roy Jenkins would have accepted the Alternative Vote after decades of campaigning for electoral reform. Special offer: get 12 issues of the New Statesman for just £5.99 plus a free copy of "Liberty in the Age of Terror" by A C Grayling. › Echoes of the 1970s and 1980s as Labour MPs choose to indulge in opposition George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman. Subscribe from just £1 per issue More Related articles Will Storm Doris affect turnout in the Stoke-on-Trent and Copeland by-elections? What does it mean for Ukip if it loses in Stoke-on-Trent Central? What does François Bayrou's endorsement of Emmanuel Macron mean for the French presidential race?