Government 'ignoring the need for Westminster reform' in National Democracy Week

By agency reporter
July 2, 2018

The Electoral Reform Society (ERS) say the government is ignoring the need for reforms at Westminster, as it launches the first National Democracy Week  which runs from 2 - 8 July.

The Cabinet Office scheme which is being launched on 02 July 2018, is built on the premise that “regardless of who we are or where we are from, we must work together to ensure that every member of society has an equal chance to participate in our democracy and to have their say.” But it comes amid a growing democratic divide in the UK.

Today is also the 90th anniversary of the 1928 Equal Franchise Act, which gave women the same voting rights as men.

However, the ERS are highlighting:

  • An unequal franchise in the UK – with 16 and 17-year olds denied a vote outside of Scotland
  • An ‘out of date and unjust’ voting system for Westminster and English local elections
  • A ‘political gender gap’ for women’s representation, with the government refusing to implement crucial legislation on candidate diversity data
  • A ‘bloated and undemocratic’ House of Lords, with the results for a hereditary peer by-election coming right in the middle of Democracy Week

The lack of reform is exacerbating glaring political inequalities – with National Democracy Week "at risk of glossing over the need for change", according to campaigners.

In a comment piece for the ERS website, the oganisation's CEO, Darren Hughes, points out "four ways Wesminster's politics needs fixing". He writes that “this Democracy Week, the government must recognise Westminster’s politics is broken...Despite the government claiming to back ensuring ‘every member of society has an equal chance to participate in our democracy and to have their say’, we are nowhere near the that vision in the UK."

* Electoral Reform Society https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/

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