Fewer than half of voters 'think UK democracy works' in latest blow for politics

The scale of disillusionment is laid bare in a report by the Carnegie Trust published today

Boris Johnson has previously been accused of undermining trust in politics

Three-quarters of voters do not trust MPs to make decisions which will improve their lives, a report reveals today.

In the latest devastating blow to views of Parliament and British politics, a study warns that the country’s “democratic wellbeing” is “in crisis”.

Just 45% of people feel that democracy works well in the UK.

And the YouGov online poll of 1,746 adults was carried out in mid-December – before the huge slew of Partygate allegations which are likely to have further undermined politicians’ credibility.

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Some 77% of those quizzed did not trust that MPs will make decisions that will improve their lives.

In contrast, 72% thought citizens should have more power to hold politicians to account.

The study is another blow to Westminster


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Thirty-two-per-cent said a loss of trust in the Government was the biggest threat to democracy, with corruption accounting for just 15% and fake news and disinformation 12%.

Carnegie’s chief executive Sarah Davidson said: “Public trust in government and in elected politicians is at a low-ebb in England right now and this has a damaging impact on the collective wellbeing of the nation.

“These findings should be a wake up call to UK politicians to invest in democratic wellbeing by ramping up participatory democracy, improving transparency.

“We need to focus on measures of national success in keeping with people’s priorities, rather than one-dimensional economic measures.”

Will Moy, chief executive of truth-checking group Full Fact, said: “This is an important reminder about the corrosive impact of dishonesty in public life.

Experts hope the report will act “as a wake up call” for MPs


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“Falling trust and bad information can’t go unchecked.

“Today’s report should be a wake up call for MPs and elected representatives across the UK, especially those who too often take our trust for granted.

“When people can’t trust those in power, they disengage.

“For democracy to function our trust must be earned – in every speech, every interview, and every constituency meeting.”

Former Labour MP Graham Allen, convener of The Citizens’ Convention on UK Democracy, and who chaired the Commons Select Committee on Political and Constitutional Reform from 2010-2015, said the 19-page study “underlines the need to re-engage citizens meaningfully in their own democracies rather than be spectators at the ‘politics as entertainment’ show”.

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