Trust needs to be restored in Britain’s political system

29th Nov 2019

It should be an honour to serve the country as an elected member of Parliament. Yet such is the lack of respect that has grown for the British political system that it has become an ignominy to be part of either the legislative or legislature.

The Palace of Westminster is distinguished but has been crumbling over the centuries. A complete refurbishment of the building is finally due to start in a couple of years at a cost that could exceed £7 billion. While the work is carried out, MPs have agreed to temporarily move to other premises yet presumably without changing the gladiatorial and adversarial style that the institution is so notorious for.

For the third time in just four years, the public is asked to go to the polls. If the 2017 General Election was the most crucial in recent history, the latest one, because of the unresolved issue of Brexit, makes the casting of votes all the more vital, especially as pending decisions are due to affect generations to come.

However contrived and ill-judged, Brexit is only a symptom of the deep malaise in the country’s broken political system, not the cause. Once admired around the world, as ‘The Mother of All Parliaments’ the UK has become decidedly tarnished.

The constitutional crisis has been brought by the Tories under former Prime Minister, David Cameron, who called for a misguided referendum to resolve the bitter divisions among its Tory members over Europe. It was obviously not thought through about the implications of leaving Europe. It is only now that the realisation has dawned on the politicians.

Nowhere is there any attempt to reach agreements between the UK parties. Instead, the right-wing Tory Government is trying to impose the Brexit agreement without any scrutiny. Unfortunately, we have a weak opposition in the shape of the Labour Party who have yet to produce a robust challenge in the face of a Brexit bundling Government.

In the background, the Westminster system essentially prioritises an all-powerful, centralised executive inside the legislative body that is open to abuse and corruption. The last Speaker John Bercow managed to take the Executive to account and thereby secure the supremacy of the Parliament.

The UK’s first-past-the-post electoral system has created a two-party state for a long time. The Parliament is hardly representative. It is grossly under-representative by the small number of women and BMEs.

More immediately is the election facing the country on December 12, which is about much more than Brexit. It is essentially about what kind of country we want. But it is doubtful, if anything is really going to change.

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Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

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