Governments should govern with the consent of the people. It’s a claim so obvious if you believe in democracy that it’s found in many documents, from the American Declaration of Independence to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Yet that’s not what we have in the UK election system.

Last week, I looked at ways of curtailing the untrammelled power of the UK parliament and its ability to avoid playing by any rules or being governed by any laws.

MORE OPINION: 'Westminster is in effect a free-for-all'

This is compounded by the fact that governments are almost always elected by a minority of the people. Boris Johnson is fond of saying he is carrying out the “people’s priorities” but in reality, 56% of the people didn’t vote for him.

Only between 2010 and 2015 did the UK have a government that was comprised of parties that between them commanded the support of the majority of the electorate.

In every election since the war, governments have always been made up of parties that were supported by a minority.

In reality, all parties have to do is win over a large minority of the voters to do whatever they want, with no boundaries. Yet we don’t see marches in the streets or protests demanding change. People just accept it.

It’s less government through consent and more government by acquiescence.

When people were given the opportunity to opt for a different election system in 2010, they roundly rejected it and most members of my own party did not support it. Yet this now looks like a historic mistake.

MORE OPINION: Coalition culture is nothing new for European elections — so why are we so shy?

If that system was now in existence, we would quite possibly not have a Conservative government in Westminster now. The question hasn’t gone away however and in Wales we will face it sooner rather than later.

If the Senedd expands from 60 to 80 members, then a great deal of thought and indeed bargaining will have to go into how the extra members are elected.

In 2003, I wrote a pamphlet for the Institute of Welsh Affairs called The Future of Welsh Labour. It was seen as dangerously radical at the time, advocating as it did a law-making, tax-varying parliament amongst other things. Eighteen years on and those ideas are widely accepted, but not everything in it has come about.

I also advocated an 80-member parliament, but I have to say my idea was to elect two members from each of Wales’ 40 constituencies on a first-past-the-post basis, which, shall we say, was of its time and would be unlikely to gain acceptance across parties now!

I’m not a fan of elections that use two different systems to elect members. In Wales of course we have 40 members elected from the constituencies and a further 20 through a complicated list system of proportional representation.

This can lead to a perception, to the great annoyance of those 20, that they don’t enjoy the same status as the 40, especially as many get elected through the list having lost in a constituency.

That’s why my preference has always been for all Senedd members to be elected in the same way. It creates a level playing field and there is no question of some members being seen as more legitimate than others. The big question is which way?

READ MORE: Boundary reform offers Wales chance to go its own way

I accept that an entire first-past-the-post system is not going to work or gain wide support but neither do I think that a purely proportional system works.

It’s important that members retain a geographical affinity with area. I found that the public liked the idea of having someone who represents their area.

There are any number of ways in which you can come up with a workable system which is more representative than what we have now, and I have an open mind on what that system should look like.

But another question which goes beyond the creation of a new electoral system is whether parties can make such a system work.

In Wales, we do have a culture of co-operation across parties as well as the need to hold government to account. We’ve had coalitions, deals and ad hoc arrangements that have kept the wheels of the Senedd turning. Cross-party working is the norm is Cardiff. It’s much less so in Westminster.

Can you imagine the current scenario in Germany, where, if replicated in the UK, would lead to the Conservatives and Labour forming a coalition?

Perhaps the real problem with moving to a more proportional system of voting in Westminster is not which system might be adopted but the enormous cultural change that would be needed there to accept that governments would often be made up of more than one party.

As I’ve said before, our political parties tend to be broad churches ie coalitions in themselves with a wide range of views held by their members.

What’s clear though is that we can’t keep the current Westminster system. That system, where a minority rules without keeping to rules, doesn’t look particularly democratic.

Perhaps over the next few years we in Wales can offer some alternatives.

If you value The National's political journalism, help grow our team of reporters by becoming a subscriber.