Mon, 15 April 2024

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Exclusive: Only 5% Of Brits Feel They Have Any Influence On Decision-Making In Westminster

Labour is calling for an inquiry into the ex-PM David Cameron's relationship with Lex Greensill (Alamy)

3 min read

Fresh polling shows that over two-thirds (68%) of Brits feel powerless to influence decision-making in Westminster.

According to the survey by Savanta ComRes — conducted on behalf of Politics for the Many and Electoral Reform Society — 57% of people feel their counties or boroughs are either not represented, or represented only a little, in national decision-making at Westminster.

The poll of 2,092 adults  — weighted to reflect the UK population — found just 5% of those surveyed felt they were able to influence government policy.

It comes amid an ongoing row over reports that ex-PM David Cameron pressed Treasury officials last year for emergency funding for the now-collapsed firm Greensill Capital, in which he is said to have had a financial interest.

Cameron was cleared of any wrongdoing earlier this month by watchdog the Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists on the grounds that as an employee of the firm his behaviour did not formally constitute lobbying.

However, the news has sparked a fresh row over the relationship between government and major businesses, with critics arguing that ministers and civil servants are given undue access to Westminster once they leave government.

“From the latest lobbying scandal, to cronyistic contracts during the pandemic, it’s no wonder that public faith in politics is so low,” said Nancy Platts, coordinator of Politics for the Many — a trade union campaign for political reform. 

“Ordinary people simply don’t feel their voices are being heard. We have a government ruling on a minority of the vote, and top-down decision making that is alienating huge parts of the country.”

She added: “We need real political reform to ensure power is moved from lobbyists and special interests, to communities and workplaces around the country. 

“The Labour leadership should take note of these important calls – and start developing a vision for real democracy in the UK.” 

Earlier this week, shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds, and shadow cabinet office minister Rachel Reeves wrote to the government calling for an inquiry into financier Lex Greensill’s relationship with Cameron. 

Fresh concerns were sparked after a business card from 2012 was revealed which referred to Greensill as a “senior adviser” in the Prime Minister’s Office, and giving a No 10 email address.

“These revelations raise further questions about the special access provided to the heart of government for Greensill and its linked companies,” said Dodds in the letter to Case. 

“The public have a right to know that their money is not being wasted or put at risk due to the Conservatives’ cosy connections with lending firms.”

Commenting on the polling, Willie Sullivan, senior director at the Electoral Reform Society, said: "We've seen again and again that people feel Westminster is broken. People feel power is too remote, unable to help shape the decisions that matter.

"We will never address the pressing issues that face us as a country while the vast majority of votes go ignored each election. 

“Without a strong base our broken culture of centralised power, unaccountable decisions and a politics which seems too far removed from ordinary people’s lives will continue to fester.”

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