Pros and Cons of First-Past-the-Post

In a ‘normal’ British national election or by-election (i.e. excluding the newer formats that have been used in recent regional elections for devolution), those who wish to fight an election register to do so. When the election takes place, for example a by-election for a constituency MP for Westminster, the person who wins the highest number of votes within that constituency, wins that election. FPTP is as clear and as brutal as that. Only in the very rarest of cases has a re-count been ordered due to the closeness of that specific result, but in the vast majority of cases, FPTP allows for a clear winner.
As an example; a by-election for the constituency of Make-Up. The three main candidates are from the three most prominent national parties. The result is as follows :
Candidate A (Labour) :       22,000 votes
Candidate B (Tory) :           17,000 votes
Candidate C (Lib Dems) : 13,000 votes
In this example, the clear winner is candidate A with a majority over Candidate B of 5,000. FPTP is a cheap and simple way to hold an election as each voter only has to place one cross on the ballot paper. Counting of the ballot papers is usually fast and the result of a British general election is usually known the very next day after polling. Ballot papers are usually simple (though they can drift towards being confusing if the number of candidates is large) and the voter only needs to put one clear mark on their paper which should be easily counted thus removing the prospect of the confusion that haunted the American 2000 election which degenerated into “when is a mark not a mark ?”
The speed of the process usually allows for a new government to take over power swiftly or if the incumbent government wins the general election, allows for a swift return for the continuation of government without too many disruptions to the political life of the nation.
FPTP has created within Great Britain a political system that is essentially stable as politics is dominated by just...