The British public are increasingly open to authoritarianism and would support a leader who would be willing to ignore parliament, a survey revealed on Monday.
The annual survey -- conducted by the U.K.-based Democracy Charity and the Hansard Society -- found that overall public faith in the political system and its representatives had reached the lowest point in 15 years.
When asked if “Britain needs a strong ruler willing to break the rules”, 54% of the public said yes while only 23% said no.
Almost 75% of those asked said that the political system was in urgent need of significant changes and 42% agreed that national issue could be dealt with efficiently “if the government didn’t have to worry so much about votes in parliament”.
“Preferring a strong leader who is willing to break the rules, or thinking that the government should be able to tackle the country’s problems without worrying about the approval of parliament, would challenge core tenets of our democracy,” said Ruth Fox, director of Hansard Society.
“The public feel strongly that the system of governing favours the rich and powerful and that political parties don’t care about the average person. And people are not confident that politicians act in the public interest. Unless something changes, this is a potentially toxic recipe for the future of British politics” Fox added.
Brexit hangs in the balance: Corbyn's Labour says no breakthrough yet
The opposition Labour Party said on Monday that Prime Minister Theresa May had so far failed to convince it to support a divorce deal, two days before a European Union emergency summit where she will try to delay Britain's April 12 departure.Brexit has already been delayed once but May is asking the EU for yet more time as she courts veteran socialist Jeremy Corbyn, whose Labour Party wants to keep Britain more closely tied to the EU after Brexit.Nearly three years after the United Kingdom shocked the world by voting by 52 percent to 48 to leave the EU, May warned that Brexit might never happen but said that she would do everything possible to make sure that it did.Labour's Brexit point man, Keir Starmer, said May's government had so far not changed its position on Brexit and so no way forward had been agreed."Both us and the government have approached this in the spirit of trying to find a way forward. We haven't found that yet. We will continue to do that," Starmer said."The ball is the government's court," he added. "We need to see what they come back with and, when they do, we will take a collective position on that."What Starmer termed exchanges of communication had taken place over the weekend and, while no talks were scheduled for Monday, he said things could develop. He said an agenda had been circulated that included the idea of a confirmatory referendum.May's spokesman said she hoped further formal talks could take place later on Monday, and that she wanted to reach an agreement as soon as possible.The spokeswoman said May wanted Britain to have an independent trading policy - something hard to reconcile with Labour's demand for membership of a customs union - and that both sides would need to compromise.The 2016 referendum revealed a United Kingdom divided over much more than EU membership, and has sparked impassioned debate about everything from secession and immigration to capitalism, empire and what it means to be British.Yet, more than a week after Britain was originally supposed to have left the EU, nothing is resolved as the weakest leader in a generation battles to get a divorce deal ratified by a deadlocked parliament.Macron to host UK's May in Paris on Tuesday for Brexit talksBritish voters say give us a strong leader and reform the Brexit-fatigued systemBrexit Delay?EU leaders, fatigued by the serpentine Brexit crisis, must decide on Wednesday whether to grant May, who has asked for a postponement until June 30, a further delay. The decision can be vetoed by any of the other 27 member states.Without an extension, the United Kingdom is due to leave the EU at 2200 GMT on Friday, without a deal to cushion the economic shock.While the EU is not expected to trigger such a potentially disorderly no-deal exit, diplomats said all options were on the table - from refusing a delay to granting May's request or pushing for a longer postponement.May needs to convince EU leaders that she has a viable plan; she will meet Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin and President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Tuesday to discuss Brexit.The EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, was on Monday meeting Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in Ireland, which depends heavily on Britain as both a market and a transit point and would be hit hardest by a no-deal Brexit.As the crisis grinds on, one survey suggested that voters wanted a strong leader willing to force through broad political reform.Research by the Hansard Society found that 54 percent of voters wanted a strong leader willing to break the rules, while 72 percent said the political system needed "quite a lot" or "a great deal" of improvement.Confidence in the system is at the lowest level in the 15-year history of the survey, lower even than after a 2009 scandal when lawmakers were shown to have charged taxpayers expenses for everything from an ornamental duck house to cleaning out a moat. Jaguar Land Rover begins Brexit-linked UK plant shutdownsMay to meet Merkel on Tuesday amid Brexit crisis
The survey also found that the public have more confidence in the military, civil servants and TV broadcasters than MPs “to act in the people’s interest”, with 25% saying they trusted MPs in handling Brexit and other national problems.
Over half of respondents said that the U.K. was in decline with 63% believing that the political system is rigged to favor the powerful and the elite.
The survey was conducted by interviewing 1,000 people throughout the country. Overall, the survey found that people are engaged in politics but have little faith in the political system and its representatives.
The survey has also revealed how Brexit, which has already engulfed the government and parliament in chaos, is also creating deeper schisms within British society.
Jaguar Land Rover begins Brexit-linked UK plant shutdowns
Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) shuts its UK plants on Monday for five days over Brexit, adding to other shutdowns to leave at least half the country's car production off-line in what could be a pivotal week for Britain's divorce from the EU.The move by Britain's biggest carmaker, to prepare for any disruption resulting from Brexit, was taken a few months ago at a time when the departure date - since extended to April 12 - was March 29.Automotive firms face a number of possible risks under a disorderly Brexit, including delays to the supply of ports and finished models, new customs bureaucracy, the need to recertify models and an up to 10 percent tariff on finished vehicles.Prime Minister Theresa May's efforts to obtain a longer extension have also ruined contingency plans for some of them.Shutdowns are generally organised far in advance so employee holidays can be scheduled and suppliers can adjust volumes, making them hard to move.With Britain's political leaders still deadlocked over Brexit and some EU states questioning a further departure delay, culture minister Jeremy Wright said May would continue talks with the opposition Labour Party to try to find a compromise solution.BMW's UK Mini and Rolls-Royce plants are also shuttered this week, as is Peugeot's Vauxhall factory, which brought forward summer shutdowns to April.Together JLR, Mini, Rolls-Royce and Peugeot's Vauxhall brand, which is branded as Opel on the continent, built over 750,000 of Britain's 1.52 million cars last year.Honda has also scheduled six "non-production days" in April but has declined to say on which dates they will take place.Britain's once buoyant car sector has since 2017 posted sharp falls in sales, output and investment.JLR has already had to cut output last year as it faces declining sales, partly as customers shun diesel vehicles.Overwhelmingly foreign-owned, the Britain-based car industry has become increasingly frustrated as a stable and attractive investment environment becomes mired in a deep political crises, risking free and frictionless trade.At least 25 percent of Britain's automotive engine capacity is also closed as BMW's central English Hams Hall factory continues a four-week shutdown while JLR's Wolverhampton site stops production for the week as part of Brexit preparations.Honda engine production will also stop on six days this month.
May to meet Merkel on Tuesday amid Brexit crisis
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet British Prime Minister Theresa May in Berlin on Tuesday, a government spokesman has announced on Monday.Speaking at a news conference in Berlin, government spokesman Steffen Seibert said Merkel will receive May in the Chancellory tomorrow, but he declined to make any comment on British premier’s request for a further delay to Brexit until June 30.In a letter she wrote to the European Council, President Donald Tusk on Friday said May asked for a further delay to Brexit, after she suffered a humiliating defeat at the Parliament on her EU withdrawal agreement.Following her talks in Berlin, May is expected to travel to Paris for a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron.Tech, Boeing suppliers drag European shares lowerMacron to host UK's May in Paris on Tuesday for Brexit talksEU leaders are scheduled to meet in Brussels on Wednesday for a special summit to discuss May’s request.Local media reported earlier that the EU was considering to offer Britain a “flexible” extension until the end of 2019, with an option to leave earlier if the withdrawal agreement is ratified.May’s Brexit deal was rejected three times by the British lawmakers, and last week British MPs also rejected four alternative proposals for the U.K.’s exit from the EU.The U.K. is due to leave the bloc on April 12 -- pushed back last month from March 29 -- if the EU would not agree on an extension to Brexit.In a 2016 referendum, U.K. voters decided to leave the 28-member bloc after a more than 40-year-long membership.British voters say give us a strong leader and reform the Brexit-fatigued systemEU's Moscovici optimistic Britain won't crash out of EU on April 12