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8th August 2014
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Aug 2014
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Cash for peerages?

Press release from the Electoral Reform Society, 11.00 8th August 2014

Contact: Will Brett, will.brett@electoral-reform.org.uk / 07979 696 265

 

The 22 new peers appointed today have donated nearly £7m to political parties, the Electoral Reform Society can reveal.

 

The vast majority of the £6,912,841 comes from one donor, Michael Farmer. But another five of the new peers are also party donors or closely associated with party donors. And 16 of the 22 new peers have previously held political positions (either elected or employed). This exposes the myth that the House of the Lords is a chamber full of independent experts. Instead it appears to be a way for party political people to achieve high office without submitting themselves to elections.

 

See table 1 below for a full breakdown of the new donor peers.

 

Commenting on the new peerages, Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said:

 

“These appointments further cement the impression that to get into the House of Lords, all you have to do is write a fat cheque to a political party or be a party hack. The second chamber is a crucial part of our political system, with real legislative power. It cannot be right that people are effectively able to buy a seat at the highest level of politics.

 

“It is the founding principle of democracy that we should be able to choose those who govern us. Until we have an elected second chamber, as opposed to one full to the brim with favoured sons and daughters, we will not be getting the democracy we deserve.”

 

The new appointments bring the total number of peers in the House of Lords to 850. With the possibility of more rounds of appointments after the general election to reflect any changes in political balance, the House of Lords is becoming increasingly over-subscribed.

 

Commenting on the ‘super-sized’ House of Lords, Katie Ghose added:

 

“At this rate it won’t be long before we have twice as many unelected Lords as we do elected MPs. That’s clearly an affront to democracy, but it also raises all sorts of practical problems. There simply isn’t enough room for them all. In fact, the only reason the Lords is still able to function at all is because so many don’t show up for work.

 

“The sheer size of the second chamber makes it completely unworkable. And that means reform is coming back on the agenda whether party leaders like it or not. The challenge for them is to address this blight on our democracy once and for all, and not just tinker at the edges.”

 

ENDS

 

For more information and interviews, contact Will Brett on 07979 696 265 / will.brett@electoral-reform.org.uk

 

Table 1

Name

Donated personally

Donated through proxies

Total

Party

Previous political position

Karren Brady

     

Conservative

N

Stuart Rose

     

Conservative

N

Michael Farmer

6,550,908.20

£6,250

6,557,158.20

Conservative

Y

Michael Cashman

2500

0

2,500.00

Labour

Y

Joanna Shields

     

Conservative

N

Rabinder Singh Suri

£129,380.00

£183.055.00

£312,435.00

Conservative

N

Chris Fox

     

Lib Dem

Y

Barbara Janke

£5,498

 

£5,498

Lib Dem

Y

Paul Scriven

£2,000

 

£2,000

Lib  Dem

Y

Martin Callanan

     

Conservative

Y

Carlyn Chisholm

     

Conservative

Y

Andrew Cooper

     

Conservative

Y

Natalie Evans

     

Conservative

Y

Dido Harding

     

Conservative

N

Arminka Helic

     

Conservative

Y

Nosheena Mobarik

     

Conservative

Y

Chris Lennie

     

Labour

Y

Gail Rebuck

£2,000

£31,250

£33,250

Labour

N

David Goddard

     

Lib Dem

Y

Kath Pinnock

     

Lib Dem

Y

Julie Smith

     

Lib Dem

Y

William Hay

     

DUP

Y

 

6692286.2

37500

£6,912,841

 

16/22

 

Source: Electoral Commission

 

16th July 2014
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 Press release from the Electoral Reform Society, 16 July 2014 11:45

Contact: Will Brett (will.brett@electoral-reform.org.uk / 07979 696 265)

Cameron has failed to meet his pledge on female ministers


Despite yesterday’s high-profile promotions, the Prime Minister has failed to meet his pledge that by the end of this parliament a third of his ministers would be female [1].


By any measure, the government – and the Conservatives’ share of government – is still dominated by men. The closest David Cameron gets to meeting his pledge is by interpreting ‘ministers’ as those Conservatives who attend Cabinet – but even then he falls short of his own target. If his pledge is interpreted to mean all ministers, and not just those who attend Cabinet, he is a full ten points short of meeting his promise. See the ERS’s analysis in the table below:

 

Cameron’s pledge: not met by any measure

 

% female

% Conservatives who are female

Pledge met?

Cabinet

23

30

No

Attending Cabinet

25

31

No

All ministers (incl. Cabinet)

23

24

No

All ministers and whips

26

28

No

 

 

Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said:

“It should not be so very taxing to make one in three of your ministers a woman. Even with the reshuffle, Mr Cameron has failed to do so. While it is heartening to see more women taking a seat at the top table of politics, the fact that the Prime Minister has failed to hit his own relatively unambitious target shows how much more effort needs to be made.

“We should also question how much difference this reshuffle can make when 83% of this parliament is already behind us and the Government’s legislative programme is all but finished. Having more women in positions of power is not just about symbolism – it’s about drawing on the resources and talent of 50% of the population. When that 50% have such unequal access to real power, it is bad news for us all.”

ENDS

Notes

1.      On 29 April 2009, David Cameron said: “If elected, by the end of our first Parliament I want a third of all my ministers to be female.” Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1175106/A-Tory-Government-ministers-women-claims-Cameron.html

 

 

11th June 2014
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Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, responds to today’s launch of online electoral registration:

 

“Today marks an important step forward in bringing our voting system into the 21st century. People conduct more and more of their daily affairs online, so by bringing voter registration into this world we are removing one of the barriers facing people when they consider participating in our democracy.

 

“We welcome the introduction of online registration as part of the launch of Individual Electoral Registration (IER).  But this is just the first step. We all need to work harder to get more people registered to vote. If the transition to the new system is not managed well, and resources are not targeted at those most likely to drop off the register, then millions of citizens will go missing from our democracy. The looming General Election makes voter registration an urgent task for government, political parties and citizens alike.”

 

ENDS

 

For more information and for interviews, contact Will Brett on 07979 696 265 / will.brett@electoral-reform.org.uk

 

Read more about the Electoral Reform Society’s position on Individual Electoral Registration at http://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/missingmillions/

 

For more on today’s launch, see https://www.gov.uk/government/news/register-to-vote-new-online-service-launched

26th May 2014
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May 2014
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Over a third of the population of England and Wales are now living under One Party States, according to new Electoral Reform Society analysis of the local election results. This is an increase of over 2.2 million people, after 16 local authorities crossed the threshold of 75% domination by one party.​
 
The elections on Thursday saw the number of One Party States increase to a total of over one hundred.  There are now 18,889,433 people in living in 111 councils in England and Wales that have near-total domination by a single party.

One Party States, defined as councils at least 75% dominated by one party, are bad for voters because they are almost never based on popular mandate in line with the amount of power the ruling party enjoys. One Party States also tend to lead to bad governance, as a council dominated by a single party lacks the scrutiny provided by an effective opposition.
 
 
Often One Party States become complacent owing to the lack of effective opposition. This can lead to poor government, which is ultimately bad for voters as it undermines the council’s ability to provide a good service for the community.
 
Darren Hughes, Deputy Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said:
 
“Last week’s local elections should have been a celebration of democracy, participation and choice. Instead, one in three English and Welsh citizens find themselves coming under the control of local authorities utterly dominated by one political party.
 
“If this dominance were a reflection of the votes cast on Thursday, then there wouldn’t be any problem. But the sad truth is that One Party States are almost never based on a popular mandate equal to the dominance of the party.
 
“The truth is that the failed First Past the Post voting system used in England and Wales has left a third of the population living in One Party States.”
 
“We need to introduce a fairer voting system for local elections – one which gives voters the chance to be represented by candidates for whom they have actually voted. Local electoral reform would be good for voters, in that it would give them real choice. And it would be good for the quality of local democracy itself, making councils better scrutinised, more transparent and therefore more effective.
 
“In Scotland, the local electoral system was changed to the Single Transferable Vote in 2007. Since then, One Party States have become a thing of the past. We need to do the same in England and Wales, so that voters get the politicians they want, and the democracy they deserve.”
 
ENDS
 

Notes on methodology

  1. A One Party State is defined as a local authoritywith a single party holding over 75% of council seats, leaving opposition incapable of providing any checks on council decision-making. With two-thirds control, majority parties have the ability to overturn standing orders and change the way the councils are run.
  2. Population estimates based on 2011 Census data.
21st May 2014
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Some 16 councils in England are set to become virtual One Party States after tomorrow’s local elections, according to projections by the Electoral Reform Society (ERS).


One Party States, defined as councils at least 75% dominated by one party, are bad for voters because they are almost never based on popular mandate in line with the amount of power the ruling party enjoys. In Lewisham, for instance, the ERS expects over 90% of the council seats to be taken by Labour, but barely half of the electorate actually to vote for them. One Party States also tend to lead to bad governance, as a council dominated by a single party lacks the scrutiny provided by an effective opposition.

The 16 new One Party States (projections)

Council

Current % of Council held by one party

Likely % after 2014 elections

Islington

72.9

93.4

Lewisham

72.2

92.3

Nuneaton and Bedworth

73.5

84.8

Lambeth

69.8

84.1

Lincoln

72.7

81.8

Hastings

71.9

81.3

Sheffield

70.2

80.9

Bury

70.6

80.4

Rochdale

70

80

Ipswich

66.7

79.2

Warrington

71.9

78.9

Wolverhampton

73.3

78.3

Oldham

72.9

78

Bassetlaw

70.1

77.1

Blackburn with Darwen

70.3

75

Rossendale

66.7

75

 

The potential new One Party States are all Labour-controlled councils owing to the electoral cycle favouring Labour in 2014. These 16 councils will join 99 already existing One Party States, 63 of which are Conservative, 3 of which are Liberal Democrat and 33 of which are Labour. That means another 3.2 million people will join the existing 16.2 million living under One Party States.

Darren Hughes, Deputy Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said:

“This week’s local elections should be a celebration of democracy, participation and choice. Instead, over three million more people will find themselves coming under the control of local authorities utterly dominated by one political party.

“If this dominance were a reflection of the votes cast on Thursday, then there wouldn’t be any problem. But the sad truth is that One Party States are almost never based on a popular mandate equal to the dominance of the party.

“Often One Party States become complacent owing to the lack of effective opposition. This can lead to poor government, which is ultimately bad for voters as it undermines the council’s ability to provide a good service for the community.

“We need to introduce a fairer voting system for local elections – one which gives voters the chance to be represented by candidates for whom they have actually voted. Local electoral reform would be good for voters, in that it would give them real choice. And it would be good for the quality of local democracy itself, making councils better scrutinised, more transparent and therefore more effective.

“In Scotland, the local electoral system was changed to the Single Transferable Vote in 2007. Since then, One Party States have become a thing of the past. We need to do the same in England and Wales, so that voters get the politicians they want, and the democracy they deserve.”

ENDS


Notes on methodology

1.       1. A One Party State is defined as a local authority with a single party holding over 75% of council seats, leaving opposition incapable of providing any checks on council decision-making. With two-thirds control, majority parties have the ability to overturn standing orders and change the way the councils are run. A 75% threshold allows for the possibility of sizeable internal rebellions.

2.      2. Most of the councils and wards up for election this year are elected by thirds. In those councils we were able to take a projection of likely results based upon prior election results. So, in a ward that was won by Labour in 2011 and 2012, for instance, it is highly likely that it will also be won by Labour in 2014. In wards won by different parties in 2011 and 2012, an average national swing was taken and applied to the result. In councils, such as those in London, where there has been no election since 2010, projections are calculated on a uniform swing based upon 2011 and 2012 results.

3.      
3. Population estimates based on 2011 Census data.


For full data set and for more information/interviews, please contact Will on will.brett@electoral-reform.org.uk / 07979 696 265.

16th May 2014
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38,000 people denied a vote in next week’s local elections

 

Tens of thousands of people across England are being denied a vote in next week’s local elections, owing to the undemocratic phenomenon of uncontested seats.

 

In this year’s elections there are seven wards which are ‘uncontested’, ie which are only being contested by one political party. This means that the election results are decided without the election even being run, as voters do not have any choice about who is going to represent them. Some 38,000 people are therefore effectively being denied a vote[1].

 

Darren Hughes, Deputy Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said:

 

“The first principle of democracy is that you get to choose who represents you. But for tens of thousands of people in England, this fundamental democratic right is being denied.

 

“Uncontested seats make a mockery of democracy. If a seat is uncontested, democracy in that area effectively does not exist. The councillors ‘elected’ in five wards this year will have no proper mandate from the people as they will not have had to win a single vote.

 

“It’s time to introduce a fairer voting system for local elections – one which gives voters the chance to be represented by candidates for whom they have actually voted. Local electoral reform would mean there would be incentives for parties to field candidates wherever they have a vote, no matter how small. And it would improve the quality of local democracy, making councils better scrutinised, more transparent and therefore more effective.

 

“Uncontested seats are a blight on our democracy. It’s time to consign them to the dustbin of history.”

 

The uncontested wards are:

 

·         Otmoor, Cherwell District Council (Conservative, Oxfordshire)

·         Walton South, Elmbridge Borough Council (Conservative, Surrey)

·         Appleton, Halton Borough Council (Labour, Cheshire)

·         Broadheath, Halton Borough Council (Labour, Cheshire)

·         Hale, Halton Borough Council (Labour, Cheshire)
Halewood West, Knowsley Borough Council (Labour, Merseyside)
Page MossKnowsley Borough Council (Labour, Merseyside)

 

Uncontested seats in recent years

 

In other years, the phenomenon of uncontested seats can be very much worse. Between 2011 and 2014 there have been 382 uncontested seats. That’s over 2.5 million people denied a vote in their local elections[2].

 

In 2011 it was particularly bad. There were an astonishing 259 uncontested seats in the English local elections. That meant there were nearly 1.7 million people effectively disenfranchised by the existence of uncontested seats.

 

Why uncontested seats happen, and why they are a bad thing

 

The electoral system used for local elections in England and Wales (First Past the Post) means there’s little incentive for parties to field candidates where they are unlikely to win. In some cases where FPTP makes the seat a foregone conclusion, no other parties bother contesting it.

 

Uncontested seats are also a reflection of the dwindling memberships of political parties. In the 1950s, one in ten of us were party members. Now it’s more like one in 100[3]. This is going hand in hand with a general increase in disengagement from politics. These trends make it harder for parties to field candidates in every ward for local elections, as they have fewer people coming forward for public office.

 

If a seat is uncontested, voters are denied a choice about who gets to represent them. Uncontested seats make a mockery of democracy. They also mean that the councillors ‘elected’ in these seats have no proper mandate. And they make it more likely that a council is dominated by one party, leaving it susceptible to poor scrutiny and therefore poor performance.

 

What can be done about it

 

In the 2003 Scottish local elections there were 61 uncontested seats. But after a fairer voting system was introduced in 2007 (i.e. the Single Transferable Vote), these uncontested seats were eliminated. Since then, in both the 2007 and 2012 Scottish local elections, there has not been a single uncontested seat.

 

This is because a fairer local electoral system creates incentives for parties to field candidates wherever they have even a fraction of the vote. This in turn gives voters the chance to be represented by candidates for whom they have actually voted, which for most people is a huge improvement on the status quo. For those unfortunate enough to live in uncontested wards, of course, they don’t have any say at all. If a fairer local electoral system were introduced in England and Wales, then we will see an end to this blight on our democracy.

 

ENDS

 

For more information and interviews, contact Will Brett on 07979 696 265 / will.brett@electoral-reform.org.uk

 

NOTES

 

1 According to 2011 Census data

2 Calculated through Electoral Reform Society research 2011-2014, and ONS population averages: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/census/2011-census/population-and-household-estimates-for-wards-and-output-areas-in-england-and-wales/stb-population-and-household-estimates-for-small-areas-in-england-and-wales.html

3 http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/research/briefing-papers/SN05125/membership-of-uk-political-parties


[2] Calculated through Electoral Reform Society research 2011-2014, and ONS population averages: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/census/2011-census/population-and-household-estimates-for-wards-and-output-areas-in-england-and-wales/stb-population-and-household-estimates-for-small-areas-in-england-and-wales.html

[2] Calculated through Electoral Reform Society research 2011-2014, and ONS population averages: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/census/2011-census/population-and-household-estimates-for-wards-and-output-areas-in-england-and-wales/stb-population-and-household-estimates-for-small-areas-in-england-and-wales.html

[3] http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/research/briefing-papers/SN05125/membership-of-uk-political-parties

28th April 2014
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Apr 2014
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12 steps to tackle the European democratic deficit

 

In the run up to the European election, the Electoral Reform Society today publishes a report detailing how to tackle the growing disconnect between British people and European politics. Close the Gap gives 12 practical recommendations ranging from strengthening the UK Parliament’s role in European affairs to giving citizens a more direct say in forming European legislation (see box below for details).

 

Commenting on the report publication, Katie Ghose (Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society) said:

 

“There is an ever-widening divide between the European institutions and the British people. We are members of the European Union, yet most of us don’t feel part of it or able to shape its policies.

 

“This so-called ‘democratic deficit’ makes next month’s European elections much less significant for people than they ought to be. And when you consider how much European politics affects people’s day-to-day lives, that’s a serious failure of democracy. There is more talk than ever about Britain’s relationship with the EU, yet when it comes to citizens’ chance to have their say, most are choosing to walk away.

 

“As long as we’re members of the EU, we should be doing everything we can to make sure people have real influence over European affairs. The EU has to be more representative and more accountable, and it should be designed to encourage participation rather than putting people off.

 

“There are practical, achievable things we can do to close the gap between the EU and the British people. The Commission should be made more accountable, the European Parliament should be more representative, and there should be ways for people to participate directly in European lawmaking. Above all, we need to strengthen the role of the UK Parliament in both forming and scrutinising European legislation.

 

“On 22nd May only around a third will turn out to vote in the European elections, and not many of them will feel particularly enthused about doing so. But we can change that. It’s time we tackled the European democratic deficit, and closed the gap between the EU and the British people.”

 

The report comes as a new ComRes poll commissioned by the Electoral Reform Society finds that three in five British adults (59%) believe that the European Parliament does not represent the views of voters. And more than a third (35%) say it is not worth voting at all in the European Parliament election.

 

ENDS

 

For more information and interviews, contact Will Brett on 07979 696 265 / will.brett@electoral-reform.org.uk

 

Notes

1.       Read the full report here: http://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/images/dynamicImages/file/Close%20the%20Gap%20FOR%20ONLINE2.pdf

2.       Full poll results: http://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/images/dynamicImages/file/FULL%20POLL%20RESULTS.pdf

3.       The 12 recommendations for tackling the democratic deficit are:

 

Strengthening national parliaments

·         Adopt ‘green cards’, whereby national parliaments can instigate European legislation, and ‘red cards’ (when parliaments come together to veto legislation)

·         The UK Parliament should be able to scrutinise the Government’s negotiating position before Council meetings, as well as after

·         The UK Parliament should ‘mainstream’ European policies by sending European legislation to the appropriate committee depending on the policy area

·         Westminster should organise a Speaker’s Conference on strengthening Parliament’s role in EU democracy, and take proposals forward to a pan-European conference of parliaments

·         Give devolved parliaments and assemblies the ability to hold UK ministers to account on pressing issues at EU negotiations, and devolved ministers the right to participate in Council meetings

·         Parliament and the UK Government should put in place mechanisms for giving citizens a direct say in the shaping of EU legislation

 

Improving the European Parliament

·         The periodic decampment of the European Parliament to Strasbourg should end

·         The introduction of a candidate-centred, proportional system should be adopted for UK elections to the European Parliament. We strongly advocate the Single Transferable Vote, but an open-list system would be an improvement on the current closed-list system

 

Making the European Commission more accountable

·         The European Council should under no circumstances over-rule the ‘candidate model’ of electing a Commission president for the 2014 election, but should negotiate with European political parties on a clearer set of rules for future elections

·         In the long term the Commission should shrink in size. In the short term the next Commission should aim to divide Commissioners into ‘seniors’ and ‘juniors’

 

Making political parties more representative

·         Political parties should seek to improve gender representation in the European Parliament by increasing the number of female candidates they put forward for election in winnable positions

·         Parties should attempt to recruit candidates with a wider range of views on Europe. EU policy affects agriculture, trade and almost every other area of British public life, and this should be emphasised when recruiting candidates

 

9th April 2014
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Number of women in Cabinet falls to 15-year low

 

Today’s mini reshuffle has seen the proportion of women in Cabinet fall to a 15-year low of 13.6%, according to the Counting Women In Coalition (CWI).

Commenting on behalf of CWI, Nan Sloane (Director of the Centre for Women in Democracy) said:

"Despite his pre-election pledge to make a third of his Ministerial list female, the Prime Minister is now running the country with a Cabinet that's almost 90% male.

"The number of women in Cabinet is now at its lowest level since 1997, more than 15 years ago.

"Just three women are now fully fledged members of the top table of politics – out of 22 Ministers.

"This mini reshuffle has taken us backwards not forwards when it comes to women's representation. We urge the Prime Minister to honour his pre-election pledge and ensure women's views, experiences and talent are respected at the top table of politics."

 

ENDS

 

The Counting Women In coalition consists of the Electoral Reform Society, the Centre for Women in Democracy, the Hansard Society, the Fawcett Society and Unlock Democracy.

 

24th March 2014
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Mar 2014
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The Electoral Reform Society (ERS) has welcomed the Lords European Union Committee’s call for national parliaments to be given more powers over European legislation [1].
 
In a report on tackling Europe’s democratic deficit, due to be published next month, the ERS will come out in favour of many of the measures suggested by the Lords EU Committee, including:
 
  • A ‘green card’ procedure, whereby national parliaments can come together to ask for the creation of new legislation or the repeal of old legislation
  • An increase in the amount of time allowed for national parliaments to give a ‘reasoned opinion’, from eight weeks to 12 weeks
  • The European Commission committing to scrap legislation when over half of national parliaments have expressed doubts

Commenting on the Lords EU Committee’s report, Darren Hughes (Deputy Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society) said:
 
“Over the last few years, the European democratic deficit has reached almost epic proportions. Nearly three-quarters of the British people believe their voice doesn’t count in the European Union, and 68% don’t trust it. At the last European election only 34% turned out to vote, and it’s unlikely to be much higher this year. We desperately need to close the gap between European affairs and the British people.
 
“The Lords European Union Committee is clearly committed to doing just that. We strongly welcome their call to enhance the powers of national parliaments, so that the British people can properly hold the European Union to account.
 
“More needs to be done, but the central plank of any strategy to bring down the democratic deficit is to empower national parliaments. We urge both the UK Government and the European Commission to treat these proposals with the seriousness they deserve.”
 
ENDS

[1] See the House of Lords European Union Committee’s full report at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201314/ldselect/ldeucom/151/151.pdf.
 
5th March 2014
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Three in four think political parties can be bought, new poll shows


Three-quarters (75%) of the public believe big money has too much influence on political parties, according to new research by the Electoral Reform Society.

The ERS’s research shows strong public support for reforming party funding. The survey of 1,402 respondents, conducted between 24 and 27 February by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, also found that:
 

 

  • 65% believe party donors can effectively buy knighthoods and other honours
  • 61% believe the system of party funding is corrupt and should be changed
  • 67% believe no one should be able to give more than £5,000 to a political party in any year

Darren Hughes, Deputy Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said:

 

“The public can’t stand the way big money appears to buy influence in our democracy. People are turning away from parties and politics at an alarming rate, and while the main parties remain utterly reliant on such a small number of donors there will always be the perception that something fishy is going on.

“It’s time to banish big money from our politics once and for all. All the parties need to commit to capping the amount that individuals can donate, so that our politicians cannot be accused of selling influence to the highest bidder.”

 

Commenting on the results of the poll, Darren Hughes said:

 

“We already know that membership of political parties is plummeting [1], that fewer and fewer people are satisfied with our democracy [2] and that voter turnout – especially in local elections – is hitting new lows. Part of the reason for this spiral of discontent is the suspicion that our political system can be bought.

 

“When three-quarters of the public think big donors have too much influence on political parties, it’s time to act. When two-thirds believe it’s possible simply to buy knighthoods, you know something has to be done. We need a cleaner and more transparent party funding system that does not rely on a handful of sources of wealth. We want to see all the parties make a renewed commitment to party funding reform, before the public turn away from party politics for good.”

 

The survey also found that 41% agree a state-funded political system would be fairer than the one we currently have, compared to just 18% who disagree.

 

ENDS

 
NOTES TO EDITORS

 

These findings present an opportunity for Labour to make the case for party funding reform, after their special conference changed the funding landscape. The reforms enacted on Saturday will mean Labour bringing in less money from large donations, creating a financial incentive for the party to seek to level the playing field by capping the maximum amount that can be donated from an individual source.

 

1.       For statistics on party membership falling, seehttp://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/research/briefing-papers/SN05125/membership-of-uk-political-parties

2.      For statistics on declining trust in politics, seehttp://www.hansardsociety.org.uk/audit-of-political-engagement-10/


Recent News
18th August 2014
Recent weeks have continued to see all sorts of handwringing and dark soothsaying about the state of representative democracy. Untrusted politicians, growing inequality and low election turnouts are just part of this sorry state.   So what is to be done?   A new report seems to point the way ahead for us here in […]
13th August 2014
Did you vote in the European elections earlier this year? Perhaps not – it turns out that the 2014 ballot had the lowest ever turnout of any European election, at less than 43%.   Shortly before the elections, we published a report giving 12 practical recommendations on how to improve European democracy for British people. […]
8th August 2014
Another 22 peers have been appointed to the House of Lords today. Here are some facts, figures and thoughts about the announcement.   The new peers have donated nearly £7m to political parties. The vast majority of the £6,912,841 comes from one donor, Michael Farmer. But another five of the new peers are also party […]