General Election: Over 20 campaign groups demand parties put political reform on the agenda

Posted on the 5th December 2019

Joint call comes as poll shows only 2% of public feel they have a significant influence over decision making – even in the heat of a General Election campaign.

  • Statement from the Electoral Reform Society and other campaign groups for #DemocracyDay, 5th December for immediate release

More than 20 leading democracy organisations and campaigners have called for parties to address the ‘gaping democratic deficit’ in the UK – and put political reform on the agenda this election. 

In a letter published in the Guardian on Democracy Day (5th), the UK’s leading democracy groups point to new polling showing the levels of powerlessness and distrust voters feel about Westminster.

‘Democracy Day’ has been trending on Twitter today, and parties are expected to respond to the call in coming days.

Campaigners are calling for parties to start a constitutional convention involving citizens after the election, to make dealing with the ‘democratic crisis’ a priority.

The statement in full:

For all the divisions on display in this election campaign, there’s one point nearly all voters agree on: the desperate need for reform in Westminster.

Yet despite many parties commenting on the need for change in their manifestos, the issue of political reform has been dangerously absent from the campaign trail.

This radio silence is indefensible when polling for the Electoral Reform Society shows 85% of people feel that politics isn’t working, and 80% feel they have little or no influence on decision-making today. With public faith this low our politicians cannot afford to stay silent.

This election is a watershed moment for our democracy – inaction is not an option. Today we are calling for leaders to make the issue of updating and transforming Westminster front and centre, as part of #DemocracyDay.

We are asking them all to commit to a constitutional convention involving citizens, to set out how to reform Westminster after the election.

There is a high degree of cross-party unity around issues like updating Britain’s analogue-age campaign rules, spreading power outside of London and reining in our crumbling constitution.

With trust in politics at record lows, voters want to see parties open up about how to overhaul Westminster. Today is an opportunity to do just that. It is time for all parties to present their proposals with pride and passion.

This Democracy Day, let’s start to build a better politics.

Willie Sullivan Electoral Reform Society
Ruth Lister Compass
Klina Jordan and Joe Sousek Make Votes Matter
Frances Foley Citizens’ Convention on UK Democracy
Alexandra Runswick Unlock Democracy
Neal Lawson Up To Us
Anthony Barnett OpenDemocracy
Jennifer Nadel Compassion In Politics
Matteo Bergamini Shout Out UK
Tabitha Morton More United
Richard Murphy Professor of International Political Economy, City, University of London
Heidi Allen and Peter Dunphy Unite to Remain
Ed Dowker
Mark Cridge mySociety
Richard Tunnicliffe and Sue Ellar Represent Us
Dimitri Scarlato the3million
Paul Thistlethwaite XR Future Democracy Hub
Indra Adnan The Alternative
Andrew Pendleton New Economics Foundation
John Doolan and Paul Blomfield Labour Campaign for Electoral Reform
Keith Sharp Liberal Democrats for Electoral Reform
Frances Scott 50:50 Parliament
Jon Christensen Tax Justice Network

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