General Election 2017: Parties must dig deep to solve public alienation crisis

Today (18 April 2017) the Prime Minister announced she would be seeking to gain consent from Parliament to hold a general election on Thursday 8 June.

In response, Unlock Democracy’s Director, Alexandra Runswick, said:

“The general election will be an opportunity for political parties to put forward their vision for Brexit. The decision to leave was centred on a promise to take back control, and political parties must now follow through on this promise. Concrete commitments must be made to empower the people of the UK, and not the political establishment.

“A business-as-usual approach to politics will inevitably lead to further disillusionment, deeply entrenching the scepticism that politics works only in the interests of the privileged few, rather than the many. The Prime Minister said Britain needs ‘certainty, stability, and strong leadership,’ but for democracy to flourish during Brexit and beyond, we need a political culture in which transparency, scrutiny, and public engagement thrive.

“What kind of Brexit we want will inevitably dominate the general election, and the election will offer people an opportunity to express their will at the ballot box. But democracy is a process not an event, and Brexit taught us that the public feels alienated from and unable to influence a distant Westminster establishment. This fundamental challenge wasn’t solved by the referendum, and it won’t be solved by a general election. Whatever the outcome in June, political parties need to wake up to this fact, and find a way to empower the public to make their voices heard as routine, not just at the ballot box.”

ENDS

To organise an extended comment / interview, please contact Sarah Clarke, Unlock Democracy's Policy and Communications Officer, by phone on 07983 280 187 or via email at sarah.clarke [@] unlockdemocracy.org.uk