Briefing: Urgent reforms needed to safeguard the UK’s electoral integrity

14 December, 2023 | 1 minute read

This briefing looks at recent Government measures in relation to electoral integrity, the issues that need to be tackled to ensure the integrity of the next election and at the reforms – of both the UK’s laws and enforcement regime – that are needed to tackle them.

The UK is heading into a general election with seriously weak defences against foreign interference and dodgy money entering our politics. Our electoral finance laws are riddled with loopholes and the enforcement regime is not robust enough. The Electoral Commission has been weakened and is now subject to political direction, and there is no national law enforcement body with real responsibility for policing breaches of electoral law. This poses huge risks to our democracy.

There will be much more money coming into political parties with an 80% rise in the amount of money they can spend compared to the previous election. There may be nearly 3.5 million additional overseas voters who can also donate, with little scope for meaningful checks on who they are and where their money comes from. The Government has resisted calls from independent experts to require parties to check the true source of their donations. As parties rush to fill their war chests ahead of the election, it is essential that safeguards are improved as a matter of urgency.

Public trust is at rock bottom after a series of donation scandals in recent years. Nearly 60% of the public think funding of political parties isn’t transparent and only 30% think parties that break the rules will face action. Of 8,000 people surveyed earlier this year, only two in five trusted the current political system. Something must be done, and be seen to be done, to strengthen the resilience of our democracy and restore public trust.

Click on the link below to read our full briefing.

The UK's electoral integrity could be at risk at the next general election
The UK’s electoral integrity could be at risk at the next general election.