This book offers a comprehensive critique of the historical debate on the referendum and electoral reform in British politics from the nineteenth century to 1981. The book falls into two parts. First, the role of the referendum in political debate since the beginning of the century is discussed and a detailed analysis of the referendums of the 1970s is presented. Vernon Bogdanor then clarifies both the benefits and the difficulties involved in the wider use of the referendum. In the second part of the book, he examines proposals for electoral reform since 1830 and considers the attitudes of the parties towards it today. The different forms of proportional representation are discussed and the consequences of adopting them in Britain assessed. The People and the Party System is written in clear, non-technical language and is intended for the general reader. It makes an important contribution to a vital debate and will be of interest to all those concerned with British politics.