New polling reveals just how powerless people feel over Westminster

Josiah Mortimer, former Head of Communications

Posted on the 9th April 2021

Two-thirds of the public feel powerless over decision making and feel that they have little or no opportunities to influence decisions made at Westminster’, according to new Savanta ComRes polling.

In a week that has seen lobbying allegations dominate the news, the poll for the Politics for the Many campaign and the Electoral Reform Society finds that just 5% of people feel they have a lot of opportunities to influence decision in Westminster – a damning critique of the UK’s centralising political system.

The same poll finds that 57% of people feel their counties or boroughs are either not represented, or represented only a little, in national decision making at Westminster – a figure that rises to 62% when people think about how their local neighbourhoods are represented.

The stark figures show the public feel more distant from Westminster politics than ever comes amid growing calls for greater decision-making power to be given to the nations and regions of the UK – as debates on devolution continue to rage in Scotland, Wales and the North of England.

The polling was conducted for a new collection of essays on the UK’s ‘democratic crisis’, by leading writers on the left.  The New Foundations, published jointly by Open Labour and Politics for the Many – the trade union campaign for political reform – features new thinking from leading progressive thinkers on Westminster’s ‘hyper-centralised’ political system.

Labour leader Keir Starmer is facing growing calls to back proportional representation, in a week that saw left group Momentum throw its full weight behind a fairer voting system, joining other organisations like Open Labour (as well as voices across the spectrum).

We’ve seen again and again that people feel Westminster is broken. People feel power is too remote, too hard to influence and the decisions made don’t matter to their families and communities.

We will never address the issues that face us as a country if the system on which decision are made is left unreformed. Without a strong base our broken culture of centralised power, unaccountable decisions and a politics which seems too far removed from ordinary peoples lives will continue to fester.

That’s why we wholesale reform of Westminster – to end to the broken First Past the Post voting system, of winner takes all results that lock out millions.

We need a fair and proportional voting system to elect the Commons, overhaul the unelected Lords, and ensure that all voices across the country are fairly represented in Parliament.

Politics for the Many is the trade union campaign for political reform: It is supported by the Electoral Reform Society. 

Polled by Savanta ComRes: 2,092 UK adults aged 18+ online from 12-14 March 2021. Data was weighted to be demographically representative.

Read The New Foundations here.

Read more posts...

Where is Single Transferable Vote used in the UK?

Whilst First Past the Post is used for Westminster elections in the UK, it’s not the only way we elect people to office in the UK. Other voting systems have a long history and are...

Posted 29 Mar 2024

MPs and Peers recognise the benefits of STV when they are the voters