Katie Ghose's blog

13 Apr 2017

Deadline Day: Our Voter Registration System Needs An Overhaul

On the evening of the 7 th June last year – just a couple of weeks before the EU referendum – the website to register to vote crashed. Cue havoc, thousands of disappointed and angry people, and then an arbitrary extension of the registration deadline once the site was back up. On the whole, it was a slightly embarrassing affair for the government and Britain’s system of registration. It all fell […]
8 Mar 2017

The House of Lords effectively has seats reserved for men

The House of Lords is back in spotlight this morning, last night having again challenged the government’s Brexit plans by voting 336 to 268 for Parliament to be granted a meaningful vote on the final deal. This coincides with a BBC series Meet the Lords which is providing plenty of fodder for those who believe our second chamber is in need of reform. Watching peers go about their daily work in […]
2 Mar 2017

Lords scandals do a disservice to our democracy – including our MPs

This article was first published by The Times If there’s one thing that’s certain about politics in these volatile times, it’s that MPs aren’t exactly flavour of the month. In fact, they’re ranked below bankers and estate agents when it comes to trust. But they are democratic exemplars compared with their counterparts in the Lords. Virtually without exception MPs fulfil long constituency hours, […]
28 Feb 2017

‘Meet the Lords’ lays bare the scandalous situation in the upper chamber

This article was first published by politics.co.uk Another year, another round of Lords scandals. This time, it’s revelations that a peer left a taxi waiting outside Parliament while he went inside to register for his daily £300 allowance – and then return to hop in his taxi. This isn’t a claim coming from reformers: it’s from the former Speaker of the House of Lords, Baroness D’Souza. She says […]
20 Feb 2017

Lords reform shouldn’t be a threat – it’s a core part of ‘taking back control’

Lords have begun debating the Article 50 Bill . With 191 speakers lined up and plenty of amendments tabled, it’s a fascinating moment for democracy and Britain’s constitution. What we’re witnessing is this: legislation that resulted from a form of direct democracy (a referendum) – and which itself followed a battle over whether Parliament should get a vote on it at all – is now being debated (and […]
17 Feb 2017

Northern Ireland’s voting system allows for a more diverse, open politics

Last year’s Northern Ireland Assembly election saw some fascinating developments. From a 50% increase in women’s representation, to the growth of cross-community parties and some surprise upsets, it was testament to an evolving democracy, under a voting system that allows voters’ diverse views to be represented. For the ERS, it was an opportunity to look at how voters are using Northern Ireland’s […]
7 Feb 2017

How to shrink the Lords: have your say today

A double-decker Lords: on the cards if it continues to grow? (Pic: ERS) If you think the House of Lords is in dire need of a shakeup, it’s time to tell Peers what you think. An inquiry by the Lord Speaker's committee is looking at how to shrink our bloated upper chamber. This week the Daily Mirror launched a push for readers and members of the public to speak their minds on cutting the House of […]
3 Feb 2017

It’s time to put ‘take back control’ into action

It’s been a slow path, but the government’s White Paper on Brexit is another step towards giving Parliament a role in the Brexit negotiations. It’s not been without a struggle, though. Because we are still a representative democracy (despite the injection of public votes on some of the big issues), it’s understandable that the immediate post-referendum focus would be on Parliament. But Britain’s […]
18 Jan 2017

The public need a say on where power will lie after Brexit

So Theresa May has fleshed out her plans for Britain leaving the EU and becoming an independent self-governing nation. With more detail emerging about the economic plan, it’s time to look at the democratic implications. Serious thinking about democracy can all too often get left behind and the public shut out of these debates, as we’ve seen with English devolution. How our democracy actually […]
14 Dec 2016

MPs are getting organised for a fairer voting system

Last month, we saw a symbolic step forward in the Parliamentary push for fair votes. 16 Parliamentarians gathered in Portcullis House on the 29 th November for the launch of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Proportional Representation. And it was a truly cross-party affair. From Labour’s Jon Cruddas to the Conservatives’ Ben Howlett, and from Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas to the […]