Press Releases

ERS welcomes revised Wales Bill and calls for ‘swift progress’

7th June 2016
7 Jun 2016

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For immediate release, 7th June 2016

For more information, quotes or to arrange an interview, contact Dr Owain ap Gareth on owain.apgareth@electoral-reform.org.uk or 0771661802


Electoral Reform Society Cymru have welcomed the revised Wales Bill released today [1] alongside the Queen’s opening of the Senedd, but have called for ‘good and swift progress’ on passing it so that Welsh politics – particularly when it comes to the voting system and size of the Assembly -  can be reformed in time for the next Assembly elections.

Dr Owain ap Gareth, Campaigns and Research Officer at ERS Cymru, said:

“We welcome the revised draft Wales Bill published today, and look forward to analysing it in detail. This is an object lesson in the importance of pre-legislative scrutiny and in bringing expertise in early in the process. We are glad that the UK Government have responded positively to constructive criticisms, and doing so is an indication of strength, not weakness.

“The changes made will strengthen Welsh devolution and the ability of Wales to decide its own future. While it is important that this new draft faces detailed scrutiny, it is also vital that we make swift progress so that the reforms the National Assembly needs can be made  in time for the next Welsh Assembly elections.

“Those 2021 elections may seem far away, but a lot needs to be done and it is vital that parties work together to secure a stronger, larger and fairer Assembly that can properly hold the Welsh government to account.

“The devolution of powers over the size and voting system of the Assembly provide vital tools to shape an Assembly that can act as a better watchdog over the Welsh Government’s policies and laws made that affect us all. Wales needs a fairer voting system for a larger, more effective Senedd. We saw in the recent election that the current Addditional Member System – while much better than Westminster’s First Past the Post system – was unresponsive to voters’ changing views. We have the opportunity to provide for a democracy that better serves Wales’ needs.

“We look forward to going through the Bill in detail. It is important that all parties work together to get the Bill through, and also prepare their positions in anticipation of the devolution of these powers. Otherwise we are in danger of having to wait until the 2026 election before we have the stronger, larger and fairer Assembly that the people of Wales deserve.”

ENDS

Notes

[1] The revised Bill has been published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wales-bill--2

[2] Read the ERS’ response to the initial Wales Bill here: http://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/blog/good-news-welsh-elections

Just one in four feel well informed about EU ref, warn campaigners

7th June 2016
7 Jun 2016

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For immediate release, 7th June 2016

For more information, quotes or to arrange an interview, contact Josiah Mortimer, ERS Communications Officer, on 07717211630 or Josiah.Mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk


Only 24% of voters say they feel ‘well’ or ‘very well’ informed about the EU referendum, according to new BMG Research [1] polling released today by the Electoral Reform Society.

The polling, released on the day of the deadline to register to vote, shows the number of people who feel well informed about the referendum has hardly changed since February, when 16% reported feeling well or very well informed about the vote, despite months of campaigning, suggesting the campaign has ‘left voters in the dark’. Now, just 6% say they feel ‘very well informed’ while a further 18% say they feel simply ‘well informed’ about the referendum.

The BMG Research [2] polling also shows that 22% of people still haven’t had any contact at all about the vote – despite the government’s pro-EU mail-out to every household in April and an Electoral Commission leaflet in May. The 22% mark is however significantly down on 76% in February, suggesting the leaflets did reach most potential voters. Just 2% of people have had a campaign visit to their home, while a negligible 1% have received a campaign telephone call and just 6% have been approached in the street.  

The Electoral Reform Society are calling for a lively grassroots debate on the ‘politics, rather than the personalities’, in the midst of what they argue has been a ‘party spat-dominated debate’ so far. The ERS want to see a ‘positive push’ in the final three weeks until June 23rd, and have created an new online toolkit, Better Referendum [3], to help inform groups of voters on the issues.

Darren Hughes, Deputy Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said:

“The fact that under a quarter of the public feel well informed about this referendum – despite months of campaigning - is deeply worrying news. Over one in five people still haven’t had any contact at all about the referendum: the real debate just isn’t getting through.

“Voters have been completely left in the dark on what the real issues at stake are in this referendum – instead they’ve had a debate dominated by personality politics, party spats, and name-calling. The tone of the debate has been overwhelmingly negative, turning voters off from the conversation. The public want to hear about the issues and policies that affect them, but instead have been subjected to a Westminster parlour game.

“We need to have a grown-up, positive referendum debate in these final weeks that really speaks to voters – and inspires them with a vision of what Britain would be like remaining or leaving the EU. As things stand, with voters left out in the cold, the prospects for a strong and decisive turnout and an informed decision on May 23rd aren’t bleak. Our new online toolkit, Better Referendum, hopes to deal with that, but the campaigns and media need to pull out the stops in this last stretch to give the public the high-quality referendum debate they deserve. More than that, we need a grassroots debate in every community to take this conversation outside the Westminster bubble.”

ENDS

For more information, quotes or to arrange an interview, contact Josiah Mortimer, ERS Communications Officer, on 07717211630 or Josiah.Mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk

Notes

[1] http://www.bmgresearch.co.uk/

[2] Representative poll of 1638 UK adults, conducted online between 20th-25th May. For full cross-tabs contact Josiah Mortimer (details above).

[3] Better Referendum (contact Josiah Mortimer for more information) has being launched by Democracy Matters, a collaboration between the Electoral Reform Society, the Crick Centre for the Understanding of Politics (University of Sheffield), Centre of the Study of Democracy (University of Westminster), and the Centre for Citizenship, Globalisation and Governance (University of Southampton).

Poll: ‘Stark’ generation gap in EU referendum persists, say campaigners

3rd June 2016
3 Jun 2016

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For immediate release, 3rd June 2016

For more information, quotes or to arrange an interview, contact Josiah Mortimer, ERS Communications Officer, on 07717211630 or Josiah.Mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk


A ‘stark’ generation gap in the EU referendum debate persists, according to BMG Research polling [1] for the Electoral Reform Society released today.

The polling shows that younger people are ‘totally disengaged’ from the debate, and that there are huge variations in how people are getting their information.

Just 47% of 18-24 year olds say they will definitely vote, compared to 80% of those aged 65 or older - up only slightly from the end of April when the figures were 41% and 76%.

The Society claims this chimes with a general disconnect among young people with the referendum debate, with only 16% of 18-24 year olds saying they felt ‘well informed’ or ‘very well informed’ – compared to 32% of those aged 65 or older.

The findings about how well informed young people feel about the referendum are actually adecline on the same figures for the end of April, when 22% of 18-24 year olds said they felt well or very well informed about the debate.

The BMG Research [2] polling for the ERS also shows that young people still aren’t being reached by the campaigns: a third – 32% - of 18-24 year olds have not been contacted about the referendum at all so far, compared to just 13% of those aged 65 or older.

There are major differences between how potential voters are being contacted about the referendum, with 49% of 18-24 year olds receiving a leaflet on the issue, compared to 84% of 65+. At the same time, 32% of 18-24 year olds have been contacted about the referendum on social media, compared to just 11% of those aged 65+.

The polling shows that older voters are much more likely to be informed about their decision by traditional and ‘conventional’ sources than younger voters – with 38% of those aged 65+ most informed by the BBC, compared to 28% of 18-24 year olds, while just 9% of those in the latter group are most influenced by newspapers compared to 28% of older voters. And 19% of those in the younger bracket have been most informed through social media, compared to only 5% of those over 65. 

The findings come as academics and campaigners [3] launch a new online tool for the EU referendum, [betterreferendum.org.uk]Better Referendum – a ‘primer’ for groups of people to arrange meetups and have informed debates on the EU referendum.

Darren Hughes, Deputy Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said:

“These findings show that a stark generation gap persists when it comes to how engaged people are in the EU referendum debate. Young people simply haven’t been mobilised by either of the campaigns. The fact that interest hasn’t picked up since the end of March suggests that this problem is entrenching itself or even getting worse. And the huge 33 percentage point chasm between young and old when it comes to whether they will ‘definitely’ vote bodes badly for our democracy when it comes to ensuring we have as representative a vote as possible. This is compounded by the fact that double the proportion of 65+ voters say they feel well informed about the referendum compared to 18-24 year olds.

“With Leave and Remain close in the polls, campaigners need to be targeting those young people who have been least engaged so far. One in five 18-34 year olds are undecided – but only 47% of them say they’ll definitely vote as things stand. A low turnout among young people isn’t inevitable however, as we saw with the Scottish referendum. But they need to be inspired to get out there.

“The campaigns need to make sure younger people are registered – around four million 18-24 year olds are unregistered, so with three weeks to go until the referendum, we need extra efforts to encourage them to sign up in colleges, universities and workplaces across the country.”

“This referendum shouldn’t be decided by one generation on behalf of another – this is a vital national conversation that needs to involve everyone, not just older voters. Let’s call time on the EU referendum generation gap to make sure this really is a truly national conversation.”

ENDS

For more information, quotes or to arrange an interview, contact Josiah Mortimer, ERS Communications Officer, on 07717211630 or Josiah.Mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk

Notes

[1] http://www.bmgresearch.co.uk/

[2] Representative poll of 1638 UK adults, conducted online between 20th-25th May. For full cross-tabs contact Josiah Mortimer (details above).

[3] [betterreferendum.org.uk]Better Referendum (contact Josiah Mortimer for more information) has being launched by Democracy Matters, a collaboration between the Electoral Reform Society, the Crick Centre for the Understanding of Politics (University of Sheffield), Centre of the Study of Democracy (University of Westminster), and the Centre for Citizenship, Globalisation and Governance (University of Southampton).

 

Poll: fewer voters feel ‘well informed’ about EU referendum, even after Government leaflet

25th May 2016
25 May 2016

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Findings come as Electoral Reform Society and leading universities launch new tool to ‘liven up’ EU debate

For immediate release, Wednesday 25th May 2016

For more information, quotes or to arrange an interview, contact Josiah Mortimer, ERS Communications Officer, on 07717211630 or Josiah.Mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk


Polling for the Electoral Reform Society released today shows that the number of people who feel well informed about the EU referendum has gone down – even after the Government sent out a leaflet to 27 million homes making the case for staying in the EU.

The BMG Research poll [1], commissioned by the Electoral Reform Society, shows the percentage of people who said they’d been contacted about the EU referendum by leaflet rose from just 25% in March to 63% in the weeks following the government’s pro-EU mail-out to every UK household.

However, the polling also found that the percentage of people who said they felt well- or very well informed about the referendum actually fell from 23% at the end of March to 21% at the end of April, two weeks after the mail-out sent on the 11th April. The ERS points out that this lack of information is not for lack of interest, as the BMG polling shows 69% of people are ‘interested’ or ‘very interested’ in the referendum.

In addition, the research showed that the percentage of people who said that the Government were the most important source of information when making up their mind on the EU referendum rose by just two percentage points, from 8% to 10%, between the end of March and the end of April after the leaflet was sent out.

The findings come as the Electoral Reform Society and leading universities release a new online democratic tool for the EU vote, ‘Better Referendum’ [2]. The site will allow people to organise EU debates in their local area in the run up to the June 23rd vote, with the Society viewing it as essential that there is ‘a vibrant and diverse debate in communities across the country – not just one-sided leaflets’.

Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said:

“Leaflets are all well and good, but clearly they are not enough to create the kind of genuinely informed and engaging EU debate the public deserves - as this poll demonstrates. We need a dynamic campaign rather than just one-sided mail-drops – voters want to be able to compare information from both sides so that they know the full story.

“These findings show that voters’ need for an informed debate isn’t being met by the campaigns at present, and the Government’s huge leaflet drop appears to have had little effect. The lack of a well-informed conversation isn’t because people don’t care – 69% of people say they are interested or very interested in the referendum. So there is huge scope for creating a lively national conversation.

“As well as hearing the clear facts and arguments from both sides, we want to see a vibrant referendum debate - not just one-sided government leaflets but conversations in communities, colleges and workplaces across the UK about this crucial issue. That’s what got people out to vote in the Scottish independence referendum, and that’s what we need across the UK between now and 23rd June.

“Today we are launching a new online tool, ‘Better Referendum’, to give people both sides of the argument, presented clearly in one place. But more than that, people will be able to use the toolkit to debate the issues in their own communities. With younger voters at particular risk of missing out through under-registration or feeling under-informed action is essential.  Let’s liven up this debate from the grassroots up so that we have a referendum that actually inspires people to get out there and vote.”

ENDS

For more information, quotes or to arrange an interview, contact Josiah Mortimer, ERS Communications Officer, on 07717211630 or Josiah.Mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk

Notes

[1] Representative online poll of over 1,000 UK adults. For full cross-tabs contact Josiah Mortimer (information above) http://www.bmgresearch.co.uk/

[2] See the Better Referendum website here (embargoed Wednesday 00:01):  http://www.betterreferendum.org.uk/

Better Referendum is being launched by Democracy Matters, a collaboration between the Electoral Reform Society, the Crick Centre for the Understanding of Politics (University of Sheffield), Centre of the Study of Democracy (University of Westminster), and the Centre for Citizenship, Globalisation and Governance (University of Southampton).

Sheffield to host public launch of push to ‘open up' EU referendum debate

19th May 2016
19 May 2016

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Embargoed 00:01, 19th May 2016

For more information, quotes or to arrange an interview, contact Josiah Mortimer, ERS Communications Officer, on 07717211630 or Josiah.Mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk


Sheffield will host the launch of a new democratic tool to ‘open up’ the EU referendum next week [1], as campaigners seek to move the referendum debate ‘away from personalities and to policies instead’.

The event, ‘A Better Referendum – The Big EU Debate’, which will be held at St Mary’s Church & Conference Centre on Monday 23rd May – exactly a month before the referendum – will be an open launch bringing together dozens of people from across Sheffield to discuss the issues of the EU referendum debate – with campaigners from both sides and academics giving the full facts and opinion.  

It will be the inaugural launch of a new online democratic tool to bring the debate into local communities, ‘Better Referendum’ – as part of a project coordinated by leading universities including the University of Sheffield, and the Electoral Reform Society [2].

Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said:

“We’re proud to be launching our national campaign for a ‘Better Referendum’ in Sheffield. This event – the first of its kind – is a chance to hear all the arguments from both sides, from experts and citizens, and to discuss them in an open and innovative forum.

“The EU referendum debate has so been focused far too much on the personalities and internal party spats, rather than the real issues that affect people in Sheffield and across the country.

“It doesn’t have to be like this - we can have a vibrant and lively EU referendum debate, looking at the real issues: from health and education to the economy and immigration.

There’ll be great conversations, great free food, videos, votes, and short pitches from the main campaigns, so that people in Sheffield will have a chance to hear the arguments and have your say in an engaging environment.

We can cut through the spin and have a grassroots referendum debate that we deserve. Let’s have a Better Referendum.”

Professor Matthew Flinders, Professor of Politics and Founding Director of the Sir Bernard Crick Centre at the University of Sheffield, said:

“This is a great opportunity to come and learn about the implications of the referendum in a friendly environment. With experts, videos and lots of opportunities to ask questions about a range of policy areas, this is a fantastic chance for people in Sheffield to engage with the EU debate.”

ENDS

[1] Members of the public can sign up to the event here for free: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/a-better-referendum-the-big-eu-debate-tickets-25377141714

[2] Better Referendum (contact Josiah Mortimer for more information) is being launched by Democracy Matters, a collaboration between the Electoral Reform Society, the Crick Centre for the Understanding of Politics (University of Sheffield), Centre of the Study of Democracy (University of Westminster), and the Centre for Citizenship, Globalisation and Governance (University of Southampton).

Campaigners welcome extending franchise for overseas citizens and call for votes at 16

18th May 2016
18 May 2016

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For immediate release, 18th May 2016

For more information, quotes or to arrange an interview, contact Josiah Mortimer, ERS Communications Officer, on 07717211630 or Josiah.Mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk


Commenting on the government’s plans to abolish the time-limit on overseas citizens’ ability to vote [1], Darren Hughes, Deputy Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said:

“The government’s intention to abolish the time-limit on overseas British citizens’ right to vote is a welcome sign. This is a positive extension of the franchise that recognises that there is no time limit on citizenship and so there shouldn’t be one for the franchise either.

“Overseas voters – wherever they are in the world – are affected by UK government decisions, no matter how long they have been away – from pensions and benefits to foreign policy, travel and British embassies. They should have a right to vote on who makes decisions on their behalf when it comes to these and many more issues.

“In addition, the Electoral Commission’s voter registration drive among overseas citizens is as an important part of reaching the ‘missing millions’ of citizens not on the register, whether at home or abroad – something we have campaigned on as an organisation for many years. Though no one knows the true figure, there are around five million of British citizens living outside of the UK – yet just a tiny fraction are registered to vote, despite it now being easy to do online. Every citizen should be able to have their say, wherever they happen to be.

“As well as extending the franchise overseas, we want to see the government extend it at home too, to the 1.5m 16 and 17 year olds in the UK. Those educated citizens deserve a say in the constitutional future of their country – a major decision that will affect their lives.

“We know having votes for 16 and 17 year olds works -  they threw themselves wholeheartedly into the Scottish referendum, with 75% voting and 97% saying they would vote in future elections. Even those opposed to extending the franchise for the referendum now agree that they participated with enthusiasm and made valuable contributions to the debate.

“There is a widening gulf between people and politics which we can help reverse. Lowering franchise age is vital to nurturing more active citizens for future health of our democracy and we hope that, as well as opening up voting to overseas citizens, the government let 16 and 17 year olds – many of whom can already vote in Scottish elections – become active members of our democracy.”

ENDS

For more information, quotes or to arrange an interview, contact Josiah Mortimer, ERS Communications Officer, on 07717211630 or Josiah.Mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk

[1] The time limit currently stands at 15 years. Link to announcement here (pp.62-63): https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/524040/Queen_s_Speech_2016_background_notes_.pdf “Overseas Electors: The Government will legislate to meet the manifesto commitment to extend the franchise for British citizens living abroad to vote in UK parliamentary and European parliamentary elections. The Bill would enable British citizens who have been resident overseas for more than 15 years to continue to vote in UK elections.”

 

ERS Cymru Statement on the Queen’s Speech and Carwyn Jones’ nomination

18th May 2016
18 May 2016

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Statement from Electoral Reform Society Cymru

For immediate release; 13:59 (PM) Wednesday 18th May 2016

For further quotes, or for more information or to arrange an interview, contact Steve Brooks stephen.brooks@electoral-reform.org.uk 07525 619 622


Reacting, Steve Brooks, Director of ERS Cymru, said:

“Today’s Queen's Speech and the statement from the First Minister highlight how busy the next five years will be for devolution and political reform.  The cross-party reaction to the draft Wales Bill in the last session of Parliament, together with events in the Bay last week show that when it comes to reforming our political system, things can quickly go wrong when parties don’t work constructively together.  

"Carwyn Jones today said he wanted parties to end the Wales Bill deadlock and to find common ground across a range of policy issues.  The establishment of a constitutional affairs liaison committee between Labour and Plaid Cymru is an important step that will build momentum for reform.  The committee is a welcome development but Wales’ constitutional future must not be decided behind closed doors.  It’s important that all parties, and indeed the people of Wales, are actively involved in the next stage of devolution.

"Given the Wales Bill is likely to devolve powers over elections, the size of the Assembly and its name, it’s vital that all sides in Cardiff Bay begin talks now about how those powers might best be used.”

Commenting on voting reform, a key item on Plaid Cymru’s negotiation list with Labour, Brooks added:

"Not having an immediate concrete plan for electoral reform is an opportunity missed, but it is not an opportunity lost.  With a minority government and no consensus in the Senedd on local government re-organisation, parties will over the next five years have to reach agreement on the way forward.  Constructive co-operation is therefore vital."

ENDS 

Electoral Commission leaflet should be ‘just the start’ in shifting EU debate from personalities to policies

16th May 2016
16 May 2016

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For immediate release, 16th May 2016

For more information, quotes or to arrange an interview, contact Josiah Mortimer, ERS Communications Officer, on 07717211630 or Josiah.Mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk

The Electoral Reform Society have welcomed the Electoral Commission’s EU referendum leaflet [1] being sent to every UK household from today – but say it should be ‘just the start’ of balancing the EU debate which campaigners say has so far ‘focused more on personalities than the real issues’.

The mail-out to every household comes as a ComRes poll shows that many people don’t know basic information about the EU [2], with 61% believing most UK laws have to be approved by the European Parliament, while 73% do not know how many countries there are in the EU.

The Electoral Commission leaflet also comes as the Electoral Reform Society and leading British universities [3] launch a new online tool in the next week, ‘Better Referendum’ [4], which has full debate and contributions from the different sides of the argument, allowing people to organise EU debates in their local area in the run up to the June 23rd vote.

Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said:

“This impartial EU referendum leaflet from the Electoral Commission is a welcome contribution to improving people’s understanding of the EU referendum. So many people haven’t heard about the real issues or the facts because the conversation has so far been dominated by personality politics and internal party spats. The public need information on both sides, rather than Westminster parlour games.

“More than just leaflets though, we need a truly vibrant EU debate in every community and workplace in the UK, with the same kind of enthusiasm and lively discourse that emerged during the Scottish referendum. We don’t have to settle for a second-rate referendum debate.

“Within the next week we’ll be launching a new online tool, ‘Better Referendum’, to give people both sides of the argument, presented clearly and in one place. Better Referendum will allow people to organise events in their local areas, using the site to get the facts and the views on this crucial decision – without the personality politics.

“The public deserve better than the clamour and confusion of the conversation so far. Today’s Electoral Commission leaflet is a good start in addressing that – but let’s do far more to take the debate to every village, town and city of the country.”

ENDS

For more information, quotes or to arrange an interview, contact Josiah Mortimer, ERS Communications Officer, on 07717211630 or Josiah.Mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk

Notes

[1] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36286993

[2] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/most-people-have-no-idea-how-many-countries-are-in-the-eu-survey-says-a7029711.html

[3] The Better Referendum tool is a collaboration between the Electoral Reform Society and the Universities of Sheffield, Southampton, and Westminster.

[4] Better Referendum will be launching within the next week – contact Josiah Mortimer for more information.

ERS Cymru: New Presiding Officer should lead cross-party Assembly reform talks

11th May 2016
11 May 2016

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Review of UK Parliamentary boundaries will force AMs to consider how to organise future Assembly elections

  • Statement from Electoral Reform Society Cymru
  • For immediate release, 14:20, 11/05/2016
  • For further quotes, or for more information or to arrange an interview, Steve Brooks on 07525 619 622 stephen.brooks@electoral-reform.org.uk

Commenting on today’s election of a new Presiding Officer for the Welsh Assembly, Steve Brooks director of the Electoral Reform Society Cymru said:

“The next five years will be a busy time for the National Assembly.  The current Wales Bill will devolve substantial powers to Cardiff Bay, that if used correctly could help transform Welsh democracy.

“With a review of UK parliamentary boundaries imminent [1], the questions of how we elect AMs will arise again. The number of Welsh parliamentary seats is expected to reduce from 40 to 29, so Wales will need to decide whether or not to keep existing Assembly boundaries.

That forces a necessary discussion on how to elect AMs and whether there should be an increase in numbers.  Whilst there’s support from across the political spectrum for fair votes and a larger Assembly, there is always the danger that such a debate could descend into partisan point-scoring. 

“That is why the Electoral Reform Society wants the new Presiding Officer to convene cross-party talks to try and form a consensus.  It’s a process that’s been used in Westminster on other topics [2] and is a way of reducing partisan interests in a debate that should be focused on what’s best for the voter.

“We’d expect the talks to focus on the size of the Assembly, the method used to elect AMs, whether the place should be renamed the Welsh Parliament, votes at 16 and other measures aimed at increasing turnout.

“It’s an important chapter in the history of the Assembly and the Electoral Reform Society congratulates Elin Jones on her appointment as Presiding Officer”.

ENDS

Notes

[1] The Sixth Periodic Review of Westminster constituencies recommenced in 2016 and is expected to finalise new boundaries for Wales in 2018 http://bcomm-wales.gov.uk/splash?orig=/2013review/.  The expected proposal will reduce the number of Welsh parliamentary constituencies from 40 to 29.

Currently the Assembly’s 40 ‘First Past the Post’ constituencies follow the Westminster parliamentary boundaries – a process known as ‘co-terminosity’. 

[2] Known as a ‘Speaker’s Conference’, in Westminster from time to time special committees are established to explore and report on constitutional matters.  Originally, the Prime Minister requested the Speaker establishes a Speaker’s Conferences, but in more recent times the Speaker’s Conference has been instigated by the Speaker themselves.   For more information on the history, role and previous work of Speaker’s Conferences please visit: http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/SN04426#fullreport

For bookings or for more information contact Steve Brooks on 07525 619 622 or stephen.brooks@electoral-reform.org.uk

 

Citizenship education must be priority for next Scottish Parliament, say campaigners

3rd May 2016
3 May 2016

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ERS Scotland launch new report, ‘Scotland’s Future Citizens’ calling for stronger citizenship education to be made priority

ERS and Bite The Ballot join forces to demand action on youth empowerment in Scotland

Statement from Electoral Reform Society Scotland for immediate release, 3rd April

For media enquiries, contact Willie Sullivan (ERS Scotland Director) on willie.sullivan@electoral-reform.org.uk, or 07940523842, or Phil Connor, ERS Scotland Campaigns Organiser, on Phil.Connor@electoral-reform.org.uk // 07941087837. For Bite The Ballot queries, contact Oliver Sidorczuk on 07923892040

 


Electoral Reform Society Scotland and Bite The Ballot call on the next Scottish Government to make boosting citizenship education a priority, as ERS Scotland launch a new report [1] today on youth empowerment.

ERS Scotland and youth democracy movement Bite The Ballot have united to call on parties [2] and the next government to back the report’s recommendations to improve citizenship education - given that this election is the first in Scotland where 16 and 17 year olds can vote following the ‘huge success’ of votes at 16 in the Scottish referendum.

The campaigners want the Scottish Government to ensure that every young person leaves school in the future empowered and equipped with skills, knowledge and confidence to:

●       Register to vote - and to vote

●       Understand, challenge and help evolve our political processes, and

●       Take action, improve and strengthen our schools and communities.

ERS Scotland and Bite The Ballot have written to all the parties in Scotland to back #ThePledge, the call for stronger citizenship education focusing on these three priorities and ‘democratising Scotland’s schools’.  

Scotland’s Future Citizens’ argues that: “With the lowering of the voting age in Scotland to 16, first for the referendum on independence and subsequently for elections to Holyrood, now is the perfect opportunity to foster a generation of informed and active citizens.”

ERS and BTB's full briefing note about #ThePledge may be viewed here.

Willie Sullivan, Scottish Director of Electoral Reform Society, said:

“Even though young people today are the most connected generation in history, they're also the generation that is most disconnected from politics. They are either cut off from, don't value or aren't participating in political processes. But can we blame them?

"To combat this, it's vital that young people's voices are heard and that their priorities are understood - and acted on. But we need a much bigger focus on democracy in our schools if we're going to develop citizens who are engaged from the very start of their adult lives.

"We should constantly be asking what we can do to improve the way citizenship is developed in Scotland. With the lowering of the voting age in Scotland to 16, first for the referendum on independence and subsequently for elections to Holyrood, now is the time to foster a generation of informed, equipped and active young citizens.”

Oliver Sidorczuk, Advocacy Coordinator at Bite The Ballot, added:

“If we want the next generation of Scots to be informed, active and engaged citizens of the world, we need to empower young people with the skills, knowledge and confidence to take power in democracy.

“That's why, with two days to go until polling day, we're calling on every party - and every Scottish Parliament candidate - to make #ThePledge.

“The need for active, practical and inspiring political education - including opportunities to register to vote - is clear. And if the next Scottish Government work with us to make it a reality, we can spark a political evolution that helps young people understand, challenge and strengthen our politics for the long-term.

“Political education empowers people to take a stake in society, and engage with - and evolve - relationships between individuals, communities and decision-making. It's time to make this vision for Scotland, a reality. It's time to fulfil #ThePledge.”

ENDS

 

Notes

For media enquiries, contact Willie Sullivan (ERS Scotland Director) on willie.sullivan@electoral-reform.org.uk, or 07940523842. For Bite The Ballot queries, contact Oliver Sidorczuk on 07923892040.

[1] ERS Scotland’s new report ‘Scotland's Future Citizens’ is published, here: bit.ly/1SKpcmU.

[2] Read the full briefing on #ThePledge here: bit.ly/1SYUNqp.

[3] Holyrood candidates are being asked to add their names to campaign (tinyurl.com/Scotland-ThePledge) and share a social media asset online (bit.ly/1NFxvDG) using the hashtag #ThePledge.

[4] Bite The Ballot's research on the need for political education is available, here: bit.ly/1VVFLlE.