Campaigners warn of turn towards authoritarian politics if democratic crisis not addressed

By agency reporter
April 9, 2019

The Electoral Reform Society is warning that voters could turn towards authoritarian politics unless there is a  shift to a more representative, participatory politics. 

The remarks come in response to new research published by the Hansard Society which has found that UK public is increasingly disenchanted with MPs and government with more people than every believing our political system is broken.

The research found that nearly two-thirds of respondents feel our system of governing needs "quite a lot" or "a great deal" of improvement and 75 per cent say the main political parties are so divided within themselves that they cannot serve the best interests of the country.

When asked whether “Britain needs a strong ruler willing to break the rules”, 54 per cent agreed and only 23 per cent said no.

Speaking about the findings, Dr Jess Garland, Director of Research, Electoral Reform Society, said: “The findings should ring alarm bells across politics. A growing sense of dissatisfaction towards Westminster could take a toxic turn if it is not dealt with now.

“The desire for strong authoritarian politics is a symptom of the breakdown in Parliament: a failure of imagination when it comes to finding constructive solutions through the Brexit deadlock. It has taken nearly three years for parties to start talking to each other.

“People look to Parliament and see polarised parties turning inwards rather than building bridges. A more consensus-based system – with seats in Parliament actually matching how people vote – has to be part of the solution. Voters are tired of the unproductive adversarialism that we see in the ‘Mother of all Parliaments’.

“A move towards a more representative, participatory politics can help heal the toxic divides that blight our politics – and begin to restore faith in democracy. Inaction is simply not an option.”

* Read The 2019 Audit of Political Engagement here

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

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