What kind of democracy do people want?

Think tank: The Constitution Unit

Author(s): Alan Renwick; Ben Lauderdale; Meg Russell; James Cleaver

January 15, 2022

This report from UK think tank the Constitution Unit provides the results of a survey of the UK population on democracy in the UK after Brexit.

The past decade in UK politics has raised fundamental questions about the kind of democracy we want to live in. What role should be played by referendums? Where should the balance of power lie between government and parliament? What standards of behaviour do we expect from our politicians? We conducted a major new survey of UK public opinion in July 2021, asking people’s views on fundamentals of the democratic system and how democracy is working in the UK. The survey was fielded online by YouGov with a sample of almost 6500 people, representative of the voting age population across the whole UK. The findings have much to say about major issues on the political agenda: Most respondents expressed little trust in politicians. They placed a high priority on integrity among politicians. They wanted those in public life to be honest, to operate within the rules, and to own up when they made mistakes. They preferred not to concentrate power in the executive, but to spread it through parliament, courts, civil servants, and the public. They showed far higher support for judicial interventions than is often supposed.