European Union

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 […]
7 Nov 2016

1,000 new Peers? No thanks

“If the Lords was obstructive we would just have to create 1,000 peers.” So said Jacob Rees-Mogg MP on Thursday , following the High Court’s ruling that MPs will have a vote on the triggering of Article 50 – the process for withdrawing from the EU. It’s a terrifying thought. But it’s an attitude that we’ve heard too often over the years – that is, If the House of Lords does too much scrutiny, the […]
5 Jul 2016

5 things this EU vote has taught us about referendums

Whichever way you feel about the result, most people are glad the EU referendum campaign is over. To put it diplomatically, it wasn’t the highest quality debate in the world. Particularly for those on the losing side, referendums can seem like the worst way to do democracy – an instrument that leaves as many dissatisfied as satisfied with the result. But referendums aren’t good or bad in […]
30 Jun 2016

We can do referendums better in the UK. Here's how.

This article was first published by Times Red Box Last week’s referendum raised some serious questions about the nature of the democracy we have – and the type we want to create. Unlike other countries, in the UK we do referendums on an ad hoc basis, often to resolve (or try to resolve) internal party rifts. Nowhere was that more clearly seen than with the EU vote. But given the current post- […]
22 Jun 2016

One day left to get clued up about your #EUref vote

The below is an open letter to voters for the last day before the referendum by a number of organisations who have been pushing for a better referendum debate. Voting requires confidence and a decent, informed debate. For the past few months, our organisations have been pushing tools to help create that debate. Today is your last chance to get clued up before you vote tomorrow. Sadly, polling […]
25 Apr 2016

David Torrance's guide to the EU referendum cuts through the spin

The following is an introduction to David Torrance's new guide to the EU referendum , which the ERS are supporting. Darren Hughes is Deputy Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society. As the UK’s longest-standing democracy organisation, the Electoral Reform Society has been standing up for voters’ rights since 1884. And this is no less the case than with the upcoming EU referendum. We’ve […]
7 Apr 2016

The Other EU Referendum

With only 76 days until polls open in Britain’s EU referendum there is now a diminishing amount of time before the campaign reaches its zenith. Yet, it may have escaped the notice of many Britons that theirs isn’t the only EU referendum this year, for yesterday, across the North Sea, voters in the Netherlands voted on Ukraine’s Association agreement with the EU. The agreement between the EU and […]
27 Feb 2016

So...what would a reformed EU actually look like?

This weekend the Greens held their Spring Conference in Harrogate – and the EU referendum was, perhaps understandably, at the top of the agenda. Greens often talk about the need for democratic reform of the EU (assuming Britain votes to stay in). But what would it actually look like in practice? I went to the launch debate of the #GreenerIN campaign on Saturday. While the ERS are neutral on […]
8 Jan 2016

Stay or go, Europe's democratic deficit must be tackled

With a New Year and the holiday season coming to an end, the EU referendum campaign is heating up. But with our membership of European Union being a crucial constitutional issue, there’s one issue that can’t be ignored: democracy. We need a real debate on Britain’s democratic relationship with Europe, beyond simple in/out divides. This is something that can unite both camps. Whether Britain stays […]
10 Nov 2015

Red cards and re-negotiations

Today, Prime Minister David Cameron has written to President of the European Council Donald Tusk setting out his demands for a renegotiation of Britain’s membership of the European Union. One of the four planks of the PM’s position is on national sovereignty. He wants to “enhance the role of national parliaments, by proposing a new arrangement where groups of national parliaments, acting together […]