A COTSWOLDS resident has joined hundreds of politicians and public figures across the country in a 24-hour hunger strike calling for a radical overhaul of the voting system.

100 years since women first won the vote, Valerie Michael from Tetbury has been taking part in the Hungry for Democracy campaign organised by Make Votes Matter to demand Proportional Representation.

The hunger strike started at 8pm last night (February 5) and will end at 8pm tonight (February 6).

It has seen high profile supporters joined by hundreds of people across the UK who, like Valerie, believe the UK’s First Past the Post voting system denies them a voice in Parliament.

Valerie is hoping that the campaign will get people asking questions and raise awareness.

“Our current ‘first past the post’ voting system denies most people a meaningful opportunity to shape their own futures through the ballot box,” she said. “It’s a major cause of the frustration and disenfranchisement felt by many. Proportional Representation is used for national elections in 94 countries so it is tried and tested, but what we need to do is decide which system would be best for the UK.

“I stood as the Cotswold's Green Party candidate back in 1997. Many of the people I spoke to said they wanted to vote for me but it would be a wasted vote as I had no chance of getting in.

"If PR had been in place in the last general election, we would have several Green MP’s so my values and concerns would be represented. Taking part in this 24 hour hunger strike is a symbolic gesture to highlight the urgent need to Make Votes Matter and bring in PR as soon as possible.”

Hunger strikers include Liberal Democrat Peer Sal Brinton, Labour MP Stephen Kinnock, Green MEP Molly Scott Cato, and journalist Polly Toynbee.