The Unit today publishes the third report of its ‘Democracy in the UK after Brexit’ project, setting out the findings of a survey of UK public attitudes to democracy carried out last summer. In this post, project lead Alan Renwick sets out the key findings.
Public trust in politicians is low, and most people think that the system for protecting standards needs to be strengthened. Most people want those in power to be held accountable through a system of strong checks and balances, provided through parliament, the courts, and other institutions. While the cost of living and the NHS are most people’s top priorities, people care about the health of democracy in the UK as well. Above all, they want the discourse of politics to be more honest.
These are the overarching findings of the Constitution Unit’s second survey of public attitudes to the UK’s democratic system, carried out as part of our Democracy in the UK after Brexit research project. The findings are set out in a report published today and freely available on the Unit’s website. This is the project’s third report: the first, published in January 2022, presented the results of an earlier survey, while the second, published last April, gave the conclusions of our Citizens’ Assembly on Democracy in the UK. This blogpost highlights a small sample of the findings.
Trust and integrity
For interpreting the findings on trust, context matters. The survey was conducted in late August and early September 2022, after Boris Johnson had announced his resignation, but before Liz Truss came to power. Trust in the Prime Minister and in parliament was already low in our first survey, conducted in summer 2021. By summer 2022, it had fallen still further.Continue reading