FOUR members of the Make Votes Matter group in Bradford on Avon took part in a 24-hour hunger strike on Monday and Tuesday to highlight the inequality in the UK voting system.

Two of the group, Isobel Willis and Tim Trimble, went to London to take part in a national Make Votes Matter rally in Parliament Square, while two others, Ray Packham and Helen O’Connor, fasted at home.

Their hunger strike lasted from 8pm on Monday to 8pm on Tuesday, and coincided with the 100th anniversary of some women (and some men) being given the right to vote following the campaign by the Suffragette Movement.

Two of the group - Isobel Willis, chairman of MVM Bradford on Avon, said: “I found the hunger strike relatively easy although it was very cold standing in Parliament Square for four hours.

“We managed to get through it by drinking plenty of liquids, such as black tea, peppermint tea and water.”

Isobel, 61, who is semi-retired, runs a small domestic cleaning business and also works part-time in the hospitality industry.

She founded the Bradford group of Make Votes Matter in October 2016. The group campaigns for local democracy and to bring in a proportional representation voting system.

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 80 per cent of developed countries now use some form of proportional representation.

Isobel said: “Our intention is to highlight the continuing democratic deficit in our antiquated First Past the Post voting system, which only persists now in four developed western countries.

“Our hunger strike is a small tribute to the work of the Suffragettes in securing votes for all but many people don’t realise that the value of their vote varies hugely across the country, largely as an accident of geography.

“The answer to this is surely to use a system of PR in which the overall number of votes in the country for each party is reflected in the number of MPs that party has in Parliament or, put simply, make seats match votes.”

Mr Trimble added: “The Suffragettes may have won fair votes for women but they are still poorly represented in Westminster, which has only 32 per cent women MPs, whereas all countries with more than 40 per cent women MPs use PR.”

“In fact, countries with PR also have significantly less wealth inequality, better environmental standards and suffer less armed conflict. This may be a result of the collaboration PR imposes on political parties.”

The hunger strike formed part of a nationwide rally by MVM, including events in London and Sheffield.

Supporters donated what they might have spent on food to a joint fund to benefit the Trussell Trust, The Fawcett Society and MVM.