WHY am I, a founder member of the Liberal Democrat party, voting in Selby on May 5 for Labour MP John Grogan?

I have two very logical reasons. The first is the man himself. He has been a very good constituency MP. That is not just my opinion. People of various political persuasions, and none, will tell you the same. After experiencing 93 non-stop years as a safe Tory seat before John Grogan, Selby's voters had forgotten what a committed constituency MP was.

Those who do not feel able to support Tony Blair any more should remember that under the British electoral system the fiction is that we are meant to elect an individual, not a political party.

John Grogan does not always vote at his party's call. He voted against the war in Iraq and against Labour's policy on student tuition fees. We need more free-thinking Labour MPs such as Mr Grogan, not fewer.

My second reason is Britain's "first past the post" electoral system. It gives absolute power to only one or other of two parties dominating nationally for the time being. To fit into that system British citizens divide into "left of centre" and "right of centre" coalitions.

Major political parties are always an alliance of similar but not really like-minded factions. Our flawed voting system hands power to whatever internal faction dominates the one party winning most MPs. So anybody voting against Tony Blair, just to black his eyes, needs to look beyond the fleeting satisfaction of doing so towards the longer term consequence.

The main Conservative campaign sounds almost like the outpourings of extremists. Do floating voters really want to lurch from the moderate middle towards the worst fringes of British politics? I hope not.

Ted Batty,

York Road,

Barlby, Selby.

Updated: 10:51 Wednesday, April 27, 2005