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"It will be subject to more pressure": Chuka Umunna believes electoral reform is on its way back

The cause of electoral reform will be strengthened in the era of multi-party politics, Labour's shadow Business Secretary believes.

The era of multi-party politics is here to stay and the first-past-the-post electoral system will come under increasing pressure and scrutiny, Chuka Umunna has predicted.

Speaking to LBC, the shadow business secretary said:

We have a first past post voting system that I don't like.

I'm an electoral reformer, I think we need to change the way we do politics, and that includes changing our voting system."

Umunna, like Ed Miliband, is a supporter of electoral reform and voted in favour of the Alternative Vote. (Labour itself is amicably split on the issue of voting reform.) Umunna believes that a proportional system is "more democratic [and] fairer", allowing the creation of "open coalitions", as opposed to the current Westminster parties which are "broad churches, they're closed coalitions".  The current electoral system will be "subject to more pressure, and come under question more", Umunna predicted.

The full clip is here.

Stephen Bush is editor of the Staggers, the New Statesman’s political blog. He usually writes about politics. 

#Match4Lara
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#Match4Lara: Lara has found her match, but the search for mixed-race donors isn't over

A UK blood cancer charity has seen an "unprecedented spike" in donors from mixed race and ethnic minority backgrounds since the campaign started. 

Lara Casalotti, the 24-year-old known round the world for her family's race to find her a stem cell donor, has found her match. As long as all goes ahead as planned, she will undergo a transplant in March.

Casalotti was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in December, and doctors predicted that she would need a stem cell transplant by April. As I wrote a few weeks ago, her Thai-Italian heritage was a stumbling block, both thanks to biology (successful donors tend to fit your racial profile), and the fact that mixed-race people only make up around 3 per cent of international stem cell registries. The number of non-mixed minorities is also relatively low. 

That's why Casalotti's family launched a high profile campaign in the US, Thailand, Italy and the US to encourage more people - especially those from mixed or minority backgrounds - to register. It worked: the family estimates that upwards of 20,000 people have signed up through the campaign in less than a month.

Anthony Nolan, the blood cancer charity, also reported an "unprecedented spike" of donors from black, Asian, ethcnic minority or mixed race backgrounds. At certain points in the campaign over half of those signing up were from these groups, the highest proportion ever seen by the charity. 

Interestingly, it's not particularly likely that the campaign found Casalotti her match. Patient confidentiality regulations protect the nationality and identity of the donor, but Emily Rosselli from Anthony Nolan tells me that most patients don't find their donors through individual campaigns: 

 It’s usually unlikely that an individual finds their own match through their own campaign purely because there are tens of thousands of tissue types out there and hundreds of people around the world joining donor registers every day (which currently stand at 26 million).

Though we can't know for sure, it's more likely that Casalotti's campaign will help scores of people from these backgrounds in future, as it has (and may continue to) increased donations from much-needed groups. To that end, the Match4Lara campaign is continuing: the family has said that drives and events over the next few weeks will go ahead. 

You can sign up to the registry in your country via the Match4Lara website here.

Barbara Speed is a technology and digital culture writer at the New Statesman and a staff writer at CityMetric.