ERS: Citizens’ declining faith in democracy should come as no surprise

Posted on the 29th January 2020

Statement for immediate release from the Electoral Reform Society.

  • Spokespeople are available on request. Contact Jon Narcross, Communications Officer / 07794728820 
  • Following a new report showing voter dissatisfaction at an all-time high, the Electoral Reform Society has called for the Government to ‘get to grips with Britain’s democratic crisis’.

A report by the Centre for the Future of Democracy, a new research unit at the University of Cambridge, showed that 60.3 per cent of people in Britain said they were dissatisfied with the way democracy was working [1].

The report suggested that Britain’s outdated First Past the Post voting system and majoritarian style of democracy was responsible for increasing polarisation forcing citizens into opposing tribes and making voters less likely to accept the mandate of rival political parties.

The research comes following a General Election that saw the Conservatives gain a majority of seats with a minority of the vote and saw the views of 14.5 million voters (45%) go unrepresented according to ERS analysis [2].

The Society also called for the Government’s proposed Democracy Commission to be citizen-led and to ‘genuinely get to grips with Britain’s democratic crisis’ [3].

Willie Sullivan, Senior Director (Campaigns), Electoral Reform Society said:

“Today’s report showing falling support for democracy is truly worrying, yet it should come as no surprise. For too long politicians of all parties have been ignoring the cracks in our political system and failing to take the actions needed to shore up the crumbling foundations of our democratic structures.

“From continuing to pack the Lords with party cronies and ex-MPs to failing to take action to address our outdated campaign rules for too long politicians have failed to step up and begin to repair the damage done to our broken politics.

“Only serious structural reform can begin to repair this lack of faith in our democracy, a proportional voting system for the Commons and a fairly elected second chamber representing all nations and regions of the UK will give people a voice.  But we also need to do more and build into the system space for ordinary citizens to take part. The Citizens Assembly of Scotland and the similar process that took place in Ireland recently can show us how.

“Citizens are right, our institutions are broken. Now it’s up to those in power to take the urgent action needed to fix them.”


Notes to editors

[1] Global Satisfaction With Democracy 2020



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