‘Safe seat’ MPs three times more likely to have dodgy expenses?

In Has our electoral system contributed to the MPs expenses scandal?, ‘Mark Reckons’ attempts to trace links between safe seats and dodgy expense claims.

After this, it got me thinking even more. I decided to do a little bit more analysis on this. I divided the data set up into 4 sections. The top 25% of safe seats, the second 25%, the third 25% and the bottom 25%. Because 647 does not divide perfectly into 4 I have had to make them very slightly different sizes. I then totalled up the number of implicated MPs in each quartile. I have taken a snapshot of the result from Excel and put it here:

Now again, I need to caveat that this is not scientific etc. etc. However, using this methodology again there is a clear increase in the likelihood of an MP being implicated in the expenses scandal the safer their seat. It is in fact a fairly steady progression until it leaps up in the top quartile. Using this data, an MP is more than 3 times more likely to have been implicated in this scandal if their seat is in the top quartile as compared with the bottom quartile. They are almost twice as likely when comparing the top quartile with the second quartile.

I had suspected there might be a correlation but I had not expected it to be this stark.

If I am right about this then there are surely very serious questions to be asked about our electoral system. Advocates of First Past the Post always claim as one of their main arguments that the constituency link needs to be maintained (even though STV, a much more proportional system with multi-member constituencies that the Electoral Reform Society and Make Votes Count advocate also has a constituency link). However looking at the above analysis it strikes me that FPTP does not serve its constituents well at all when it comes to this scandal.

See also Himmelgarten Cafe’s We need fair votes to restore faith in our system.

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