Blogs

21 Mar 2017

We did it: petition for PR hits 100,000 signatures

We did it. The petition to introduce real Proportional Representation for Westminster has hit its target of 100,000 – with over two weeks to go. Thousands of you shared our blogs, tweets, emails and posts about the petition. And it’s paid off. It had about 50,000 signatures at the start of February, meaning it has surged over the past month to get it over the threshold to go before the Petitions […]
17 Mar 2017

Cyfnod Newydd i ERS Cymru

Wrth iddi ymuno â ERS Cymru, mae Jess Blair yn nodi'r heriau a'r cyfleoedd i ddyfnhau democratiaeth Cymru Yn ystod y deuddeg mis diwethaf, mae’r tirlun wleidyddol wedi newid yn sylfaenol dros y byd. Rydym wedi gweld y refferendwm ar aelodaeth y DU o'r Undeb Ewropeaidd, yn ogystal â Llywydd Trump a dau etholiad yng Ngogledd Iwerddon. Tedyd eleni ddim yn debygol o fod yn llai cyffrous gydag […]
16 Mar 2017

Local spending matters when votes aren't equal

Today we have seen the consequences of a violation of the rules on campaign spending, one facet of the way political parties are funded. Yet the Electoral Commission’s fine of the Conservative party for breaching reporting rules on party spending highlights bigger issues in our political system. Campaign spending rules exist for a key reason. Britain’s first past the post electoral system rewards […]
14 Mar 2017

An exciting time to join ERS Cymru

As she joins us as the new Director of ERS Cymru, Jess Blair sets out the challenges and opportunities for deepening Welsh democracy. In the last twelve months the political landscape across the world has fundamentally changed. We've seen the referendum on the UK's membership of the EU, President Trump's inauguration and two elections in Northern Ireland. This year looks set to be no less […]
10 Mar 2017

The momentum for Lords reform is growing

Reform often comes through an unusual mix of factors. They stir up within a short space of time – until the whole strange potion explodes. It feels like we might be witnessing that process right now with the House of Lords. Last Sunday the petition for an elected House of Lords hit 100,000 signatures. That means it will now be considered for a debate in Parliament by the Commons’ Petition […]
10 Mar 2017

A shifting Stormont: The view from the Belfast election count

Last week's surprise election in Northern Ireland, called in the aftermath of the Renewable Heating Scheme (RHI) scandal, yielded a result that few predicted. I spent the Friday of the election at Belfast’s Titanic Exhibition Centre, where all four Belfast constituencies were being counted – yielding a total of twenty Assembly members in the following 24 hours. This number was reduced from the […]
8 Mar 2017

The House of Lords effectively has seats reserved for men

The House of Lords is back in spotlight this morning, last night having again challenged the government’s Brexit plans by voting 336 to 268 for Parliament to be granted a meaningful vote on the final deal. This coincides with a BBC series Meet the Lords which is providing plenty of fodder for those who believe our second chamber is in need of reform. Watching peers go about their daily work in […]
2 Mar 2017

Lords scandals do a disservice to our democracy – including our MPs

This article was first published by The Times If there’s one thing that’s certain about politics in these volatile times, it’s that MPs aren’t exactly flavour of the month. In fact, they’re ranked below bankers and estate agents when it comes to trust. But they are democratic exemplars compared with their counterparts in the Lords. Virtually without exception MPs fulfil long constituency hours, […]
28 Feb 2017

‘Meet the Lords’ lays bare the scandalous situation in the upper chamber

This article was first published by politics.co.uk Another year, another round of Lords scandals. This time, it’s revelations that a peer left a taxi waiting outside Parliament while he went inside to register for his daily £300 allowance – and then return to hop in his taxi. This isn’t a claim coming from reformers: it’s from the former Speaker of the House of Lords, Baroness D’Souza. She says […]
20 Feb 2017

Lords reform shouldn’t be a threat – it’s a core part of ‘taking back control’

Lords have begun debating the Article 50 Bill . With 191 speakers lined up and plenty of amendments tabled, it’s a fascinating moment for democracy and Britain’s constitution. What we’re witnessing is this: legislation that resulted from a form of direct democracy (a referendum) – and which itself followed a battle over whether Parliament should get a vote on it at all – is now being debated (and […]