Laws covering both political campaigning and the structure and transparency of government must be changed to restore public faith in democracy, a new report from the Centre for Policy Studies argues today.
With a foreword by the Rt Hon David Lidington, the report by Matt Warman MP argues that both the appearance and the reality of government must change to address real public concerns about a crisis of confidence in democracy.
‘Who Governs Britain?’ responds to exclusive new polling for the CPS by Deltapoll that reveals a profound lack of trust in politicians. The report makes wide-ranging proposals on digital campaigning and local government including:
- Government working with social media companies to provide digital equivalents to Election Addresses, and legislating for transparency around political advertising, targeting and imprints
- A right to know which elected official is ultimately responsible for a decision, and why it was made, in any public-sector body.
- Introducing a transparent link between housing development and how much local NHS and other public services will have to expand to cope with the growing community
- Putting local communities, including parish councils, in control of basic developments and letting them own any new infrastructure
The report is the latest from the CPS’ New Generation programme, which provides a platform for members of the 2015 and 2017 intakes of MPs and other fresh voices.
Matt Warman MP said:
“Our polling shows us the public do not feel elected officials truly represent them, and worse still if they do there’s no confidence that politicians would act in the best interest of their communities.
“We must do more to restore faith in politicians and allow the public to feel genuinely engaged in the democratic process that creates the laws that effect every aspect of our lives.
“I hope the ideas put forward in this report can be a stepping stone for change.”
Robert Colvile, Director of the Centre for Policy Studies, said:
“The new polling illustrated the scale of the challenge facing our politicians. We desperately need policies to bring politicians and the public closer together – to bridge the gap between those who make our laws and the ordinary people they affect.
“This is particularly true of the planning system. In particular, Matt Warman’s proposals to give local communities have more control of development, and see clearer benefits from it, could decrease opposition to much-needed house-building.”
In his Foreword, the Rt Hon David Lidington said:
“The stark polling results [this paper] sets out show that too many people simply don’t know where power sits, or have faith in the people at all tiers of government who discharge it. Whatever party you are in, that should be troubling.
“If individuals feel less powerful and less connected to their elected representatives, we must take steps to understand why – and take steps to change it – or risk lasting damage to mainstream politics.”