Majority of public supports ‘strong leader willing to break rules’, survey finds

The survey found 72 per cent of respondents were dissatisfied with the current political system.

Monday, April 8, 2019

An annual survey on political engagement has found that 54 per cent of respondents believed the country needed a “strong leader willing to break the rules”.

The annual Hansard Society audit of political engagement found that nearly three-quarters of people felt the UK's system of governing needed "quite a lot" or "a great deal" of improvement.

At 72 per cent this is the highest level in the 15 years the audits have been published - worse than the previous peak of 69 per cent in the 2010 study which was taken in the aftermath of MPs' expenses scandal and the financial crises.

“The most worrying element is the willingness to break the law, because fidelity to the rule of law, fair play, playing by the rules – that’s all part of the British character and the values of British democracy,” Hansard Society director Dr Ruth Fox told talkRADIO's Matthew Wright. 

“There is also a certain element of this reflecting what’s happening in other countries, and there’s nothing to say that our political system should be immune to the same pressures.”

The audit was based on a poll carried out by Ipsos MORI on behalf of the HansardSociety.

It found 54 per cent of respondents said Britain needed a "strong leader willing to break the rules" while 42 per cent of people said "many of the country's problems could be dealt with more effectively if the Government didn't have to worry so much about votes in Parliament".

The audit also found that nearly two-thirds of people thought the British system of government was "rigged to advantage the rich and powerful" and 47 per cent felt they had no influence at all over national decision-making.

Dr Fox said the desire for a “strong leader” could reflect the public’s dissatisfaction with current politicians.

She added: “The public want what they see as authentic leaders, they want people who will say what they think, that will challenge the status quo, they want people with some character and a lot of people think that’s missing from too many of our politicians at the minute.”


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