Campaign for Direct Democracy GB


campaign aims

Aims of Democracy Campaign

constitutional essentials

Help to promote better democracy

LINK 5 to follow




Act of  Parliament to enable the introduction and effective operation  of citizen-led direct democracy across Britain and N. Ireland at all levels  of government. With the "tools" of direct democracy we can begin to build community and to regain supervision of our public affairs, guiding and correcting the political parties, councils and parliaments, when need be.

This reform of our constitution and democracy, which would benefit many, demands a strong movement of people and society. Please look at our plan (Strategies ...) sketched below in the colour spectrum and consider how you might be able to contribute.  What do you think about this plan?

gb+i map
Working title of the proposed law:


Strategies, locations
, foreseen actors for the Direct Democracy GB campaign are sketched below. Where can you fit in? See Contact below.


Space/spheres: local/ country-wide/ focus: parliamentary constituencies/ international        Actors: citizens/ members in organisations, unions, NGOs/ staff in public services/ students/ academics. THIS MEANS YOU :-) and me. We invite co-operation and also if you wish to set up a new direct democracy initiative, project, campaign or action group then please go ahead .... let us know how you fare, ask us for help if you need it.

approach, discuss with
Spheres: Mainly constituency-based organising and contact-seeking. Lobbying via acquaintance, professional or business contact etc.      Actors: Mainly MPs' own potential voters, constituents and supporters.

contact, persuade, cajole

Sphere: Mainly parliamentary constituencies during run-up to elections.     Actors:  As above. Request candidates to promise support (if elected) for the Direct Democracy Bill. Invite them to sign our "pledge" (ask us for detail).

discuss, inform
Tactic: Suggest that local councils can introduce methods of direct democracy. They could publicly announce readiness to accept citizens' proposals e.g. policy or planning, which if supported by many residents' endorsement could trigger a referendum. Councils can agree in advance to abide by the people's ballot decision.

During debates about the Localism Bill these organisations outed themselves as bastions of opposition to local direct democracy.  Tactic: Write to ask why they opposed the citizens' referendum and publish their reply. Try reasoned argument ;-)

call to action
Members of trade unions and officials are requested to promote a union policy favouring the introduction of direct democracy for local and national government. We are keen to discuss if trade unions could formally adopt a DD proposal. Reform to our system of democracy is a matter of state constitution and so may not fall under any legal ban on union political activity.

seek co-operation, discourse, support
We ask groups and organisations to include direct democracy among their reform demands and to make own initiatives such as press releases, meetings which thematise DD, videos, broadcasts, internet actions and other forms of presentation and promotion.

Starting here

posted here 4th July 2024

How New Zealanders dumped their First Past the Post electoral system
and installed a better system of their choice

posted here 3rd November 2022

In the 2020s could they co-exist?

For a new republic there is no need to replace the hereditary monarch (proclaimed as "Liege Lord" over us all) with an elected "king" known as a president .... read more

Articles cited include:
– Own accounts by a citizen who was arrested by police for protesting against the accession of Charles Windsor to the throne

– Detailed analysis: How a roadmap to becoming a republic might actually work – views of experts and academics (i-news)

posted here 2nd October 2022

Questions arising from or re-invoked
by the accession to the throne of a new monarch

Democracy, sovereignty, monarchy,
vassalage and citizenship

updated 13th September 2022

posted here 9th August 2022

Kansas USA, August 2022
 Ballot measure secures right to abortion

posted here 8th November 2021

Disgraced MP affair raises questions about genuine RECALL – by voters

A lesson from the Standards in Public Life affair involving Owen Paterson MP.
Questions raised about genuine RECALL by voters


posted here 6th January 2021
In recent years citizens initiative with binding ballot (referendum) CIR has tackled aspects of overt unfairness and inequality such as the need for a "living wage" and the massive gap between high and low earners within companies, as well as urgent environmental challenges. Our short article here illustrates a broad area of finance, the "RENTIER" phenomenon, to which effective democratic regulation by parliamentary law-making (unlikely here in UK) and by CIR could be applied.

posted here 27th July 2020

1. Opener:
Invitation to Debate UK Democracy and State Constitution
2. Human dignity as a basic principle in constitution making and law?

posted here 17th June 2020

The Quality of our Democracy is Much Strained .....

Descendants of Slave Traders now in Parliament

posted here 17th December 2019

We demand: give us a ballot on your brexit deal and/or, even better, rapidly push through a law to enable an agreed, reasonably large, number of citizen-electors to obtain a referendum on any public matter, policy or law. More

posted here 13th December 2019

A well tried method is to add procedures of citizen-led democracy to our indirect, "representative" system of political parties and parliament. We can call this ISSUE-TACKLING DEMOCRACY. It can be used to correct a government which has gone off-course. It can be used to introduce new ideas to the public and take proposals to decision by all the people. It can be used to block unwanted, bad or dangerous plans of a "maverick" government.

Beyond voting for a candidate usually every five or so years most people have nothing to say about how we run our country or local affairs.  Fortunately, there are well tried ways to improve how democracy works. More

posted here 4th December 2019

UK constitution of state explained by a professor of constitutional theory
  during the 2019 prorogation case:

Do we need to reform this?

Interviewer: And when we say "the crown in parliament" err we don't actually mean parliament as it were represents the crown because parliament is supreme in our system isn't it?
Expert: Parliament is supreme but we often forget the government sits in parliament ...

posted here 2nd December 2019

Government out of control?
Methods for Citizens' Political Rights
Recent governments under Theresa May and then Boris Johnson have attempted to assert their own political power above those of the elected parliament – House of Commons – and therefore above the democratic power of the people.
These recent abuses of power and of our "unwritten" state constitution have led to numerous calls for reform...  MORE

posted here 17th November 2019

New parliament, same old system. ...wherever you stand, at the centre of our political system there is a lack of accountability.
Once in government, politicians are free to act as they wish and we have no way of restraining them until the next election.
(Unlock Democracy 20 Oct 2019)

Why has public dissatisfaction with democratic politics in Britain grown in recent years and how can it be reversed?
Help to promote the introduction of modern citizen-led direct democracy in the UK and devolved polities.

posted here 5th November 2019

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
New Bill of Rights ::: or ::: Magna Carta Nova

posted here 16th September 2019

The prorogation, suspension of the elected parliament instigated by prime minister Johnson and his government was unlawful. It has been judged in a high UK court to be "null and of no effect". Parliament MUST THEREFORE be recalled immediately. The courts must enforce this if necessary by direct legal action against the responsible persons in or associated with government.

posted here 2nd September 2019
Outline of a proposal

A Referee for Government and Parliament

We have shown (...) that there are strong grounds for providing "the referees" with a right and responsibility to intervene in public crises or gridlocked political or constitutional conflicts....  To help cure our antique democracy we need a referee!

posted here 30th July 2019

Maverick Government: We can take back control of our state and countries

posted here 7th July 2019

Support this attempt tomorrow to block no-deal Brexit in the UK Parliament
ITV REPORT: MPs opposed to a no-deal Brexit will make an almost-final attempt early this coming week to make it impossible for Boris Johnson - if he becomes PM - to prorogue or suspend parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit.

posted here 23rd June 2019

Citizens' Direct Democracy to rescue environment and climate

posted here 21st June 2019

Contact your MP to find out what they think about this and how they propose to solve "brexit"!
Find your MP at parliament's web site Contact Members of Parliament  They Work For You

posted here 6th June 2019

Presidial institution could help to resolve the "brexit" stalemate
We have a stalemate ("brexit") in which a government led by a single party has failed to reach a solution after several years in office .... 
A presidial institution of state can advise, assist,  arbitrate (within the Constitution) and possibly intervene in a political stalemate.

posted here 2nd June 2019

Opinion by W-M
Why should the Tory party automatically be allowed to continue in government? The party is in crisis and since 2016 government they have failed to enact their central policies.
They do not have a majority in our elected parliament the House of Commons. More

posted here 6th May 2019

Quality of democracy and referendum wrangling

posted here 5th April 2019

Jolyon Maugham, brexit lawyer, wrote, "The idea is simple. Remain-supporting MPs would hold their noses and vote through Theresa May’s deal if Leave-supporting MPs hold theirs in turn and put the deal back to the public."

posted here 11th February 2019

MPs (Sedgefield, Hove) propose that Parliament should approve Theresa May’s brexit deal –
on one condition ...

posted here 15th January 2019

Pro-Referendum must NOT mean anti-Brexit !
It's about fairness and good, more deliberative, democracy

A general election definitely would NOT remove the vital need to hold a "brexit terms" referendum ballot of the whole electorate.

posted here 23rd December 2018

Proposed new "brexit" referendum: Errors, fallacies, half-truths and skulduggery: Part Two

Negative role of the largest political parties, for many months they have hindered the people's right to take the final, definitive, sovereign decision about brexit.
a. Labour party

posted here 23rd December 2018

Proposed new "brexit" referendum: Errors, fallacies, half-truths and skulduggery: Part One

Theresa May's government attempts to evade and fight off a new "people's vote" about UK and EU

1st November 2018

Ray of light through the "brexit" FOG! Cross-party MPs for new referendum ballot

Calls grow stronger for a referendum about brexit and the final deal (or exit from EU with "no deal") proposed by our government. To launch and run a national referendum an act of parliament is needed. The government of prime minister May opposes another referendum and will try to block the move, for instance by denying the elected parliament the chance to vote on a referendum bill or effective legal motion. MORE

Referendum on final "brexit" deal: How should it be done?

Campaign for direct democracy in Britain, 13th August 2018
Dear Reader, After some discussion and exchange we remain convinced that Parliament should prepare to hold a decision-making referendum about UK and EU which will offer the following two choices: (see more detailed argument)

July 2018
Strong case for another brexit referendum: How to do it?    For comparison we mention several related "expert" proposals for a final "people's vote" about "brexit"

Citizens, Democracy and brexit: Panoply of proposals to "allow" the electorate a vote (referendum) on the final "deal". Plus related matters. Overview, early June 2018

UK needs more referenda for a strong democracy: BUT quality is crucial

NEWS REPORT, February 2018

New political party will campaign for referendum on the brexit final deal

Around half of us in the UK agree that a new nationwide referendum should be held to decide about the terms for leaving the EU (surveys reported January 2018 and earlier). Can other countries "do" democracy better ?

January 2018, report: Referendum on the Brexit "deal", proposal in Parliament. Terms of Withdrawal from EU (Referendum) Bill. A proposal presented in the House of Commons by Geraint Davies MP

MPs in House of Commons reject call for people's referendum about negotiated brexit terms + Member's bill with similar proposal presented by Geraint Davies, Labour MP

Pass this on: MPs (11th Dec 2017) to debate Petition for Referendum about final Brexit deal

After the Paradise Papers and related leaks, "Britain can tackle tax avoidance" and "The Paradise Papers once again show that secrecy, trusts, shell companies and a thriving tax-avoidance industry are undermining much-needed tax revenues in the UK and elsewhere." says Prof. Prem Sikka. Iniref: For that we need stronger, citizen-led democracy

Britain and the EU (brexit), Grenfell Tower disaster show up deficits in public governance: constructive ideas for better democracy

4 comments after the Grenfell Tower disaster, about treatment of British citizens by politicians and authorities. Our political rights: failures of democracy and government. Proposals for improvement. /July 2017 more

The majority of Britons now want a second referendum on the UK quitting the European Union (EU), according to a new survey. Fifty-three per cent of people would back a vote on whether to accept the terms of the final Brexit deal, with 47 per cent opposed, a Survation poll found.

Referendum2 on terms negotiated for "brexit". Your opinion?
In opinion surveys of both the UK (2) and Scotland (3) a second EU "brexit" referendum (about whether or not to accept the negotiated terms) has received majority support: see reports referenced below. 23 June 2017 more

Brexit Referendum2: survey shows increasing support ? The Independent 18 6 2017. Designing a second (21C) UK/EU referendum is a serious, worthy and urgent cause which therefore deserves to be treated as a special project. We would need to bring together pro-referendum activists with experts in democracy design to thrash out a well made proposal. 14 June 2017 more

Urgent: Democracy Reform absent from election debate!!
For the General Election it's not quite too late to run a feature or spread the word about the need and very popular citizens' desire for more effective democracy in the UK. 6 June 2017 more

We should "do" referendum better! Other countries are ahead of us.
After the damp squib of the Alternative Vote referendum (2011) and the misleading or dishonest campaigns prior to the "brexit" ballot (June 2016) it must be very clear to most people that our way of conducting democracy should be brought up to scratch.  May 2017 more

Book review by Danny Dorling in the Times Educational Supplement
Brexit: How the prime minister, unions and bosses lost and a small group of men from the far right fringe won. May 2017 more


Brexit proves we need better democracy. April 2017  more

Quality of Direct Democracy in the Brexit saga. A reply to William Wallace in the Yorkshire Post
February 2017 more

Referendum about final conditions and terms of withdrawal negotiated by HM government for the UK to leave the European Union "Referendum2" /February 2017 more



2. Our comments, latest are above – scroll down to read, or search for headers.


  • What next with Brexit? Another "PLEBISCITE": Deficits of Brexit referendum
  • UK Parliament must take back control: brexit
  • People's political rights and sovereignty after the Brexit ballot. Easy but effective ways to improve our democracy
  • Our comment on a (later) 4 million strong petition for a second referendum on EU membership
  • Ways to better democracy after UK "brexit" referendum

  • The Labour Party could win supporters and mobilise non-voters by proposing genuine citizen-led direct democracy. Sept 2016

What next with Brexit? Another "PLEBISCITE" (binding referendum; public policy decision of the people)

Parliament, sovereignty, brexit and the future role of the electorate

Deficits of Brexit referendum

In a recent comment in The Guardian on-line we wrote

17 Jan 2017 13:59

Regarding the EU-in-or-out "brexit" referendum, this was flawed in several ways:

– it was imposed by government for their own purposes

– it did not originate from a formal initiative of the people

– the government under David Cameron fixed the wording of the proposition, the timing of the ballot, the financing and quality of campaigning (which was awful)

– a single referendum which produced "let us leave the EU" is not adequate for such a complex matter. With that we bought a "PIG IN A POKE"

– another ballot should be held, preferably conceived and launched by the electorate, to decide if negotiated conditions are acceptable to a majority of UK people. For such an important matter (as for constitution elsewhere) a super-majority should be required, e.g. with a requirement for majorities in regions.

Editorial (well worth a read!) in Guardian/Observer Sunday 5th Feb, 2017 contains,

"...the British people must have the opportunity to accept or reject the deal negotiated by the government. The referendum result provided a democratic mandate for Britain to leave the EU; it did not give permission to the prime minister to negotiate any deal she sees fit."

Campaign for direct democracy in Britain

Citizens' Initiative and Referendum
I&R ~ GB     Link to site index


I&Rgb logo

UK Parliament must take back control: brexit

Now in early autumn 2016 our elected members of parliament should exercise the power which they hold for us by responding clearly and decisively to the EU referendum which they called!

The UK parliament enacted the EU referendum. Legally it seemed to be a consultation of the people. In June the result arrived. We propose that Parliament should respond to the referendum which it called, to the people, in order to determine what will happen now. A parliamentary resolution about this could be issued, further, law could be passed to govern how things shall proceed. Matters to be addressed include:

The government and political circumstances have substantially changed so should there be an early general election?

Parliament must show how we will proceed, for instance:
    Who will determine if or when and under which circumstances the EU exit article can be triggered?
    Will there be a referendum to decide if negotiated or prospective conditions for leaving the EU are acceptable to the electorate or not?
    If there is to be another ballot about this then surely it could be organised and structured better than the one which we have seen in 2016.

Statement by:
Citizens' Initiative and Referendum I&R ~ GB

Power2People: Campaign for DD in GB

People's political rights and sovereignty after the Brexit ballot. Easy but effective ways to improve our democracy

Many voted for Brexit in order to "take back control" of our country from faceless bureaucrats in Brussels. But did we ever stop to think about what control WE  46 million plus voters, citizens have over parliament and the politicians we elect to "work for us"?

It is accepted that the elected parliament can supervise and over-rule all bodies, companies, plus all other entities and persons in the state.

This is the meaning of "parliamentary sovereignty".

With "parliamentary sovereignty" the parliament can apply the power of the people to control and manage public affairs.

However if the people wish to select and decide on any public issue, exercising their "direct" political rights, then they are entitled to do so.

Methods which enable an electorate to apply these direct political rights include the people's law proposition which can lead to a law-making referendum and the citizen-launched veto-referendum which can be used to block bad or unwanted government or parliamentary actions or laws.

For the future of our democracy, for constitution building and also as a way to resolve some uncertainties in the Brexit drama, we should urgently consider introducing best possible, modern democracy (see e.g. Swiss and other regulations and Constitutions about political rights).

Regarding Brexit: Serious commentators have suggested that a second EU referendum should be held, to allow the people of the UK, this time having knowledge of terms and conditions negotiated with the EU and better informed about the whole issue, to consider whether we should leave or decide to remain in the European Union.

A referendum desired and launched by a large part of the electorate would have more weight and democratic legitimacy than a "plebiscite" like the Brexit ballot which was in effect imposed by the Conservative government, as a way to solve its own internal feud and to fend off the election threat posed by UKIP.

Campaign for direct democracy in Britain
Citizens' Initiative and Referendum I&R ~ GB

Our comment on a (later) 4 million strong petition for a second referendum on EU membership

Dear (Correspondent),

Thank you for reminding us about the e-petition for a second referendum about the EU. Now (20:45 on June 26th 2016) there are 3.3 million endorsements.

Parliament may debate this proposal but, as we, the electorate, have no formal right to demand a referendum, the House would not be obliged to comply with the request.

Because the "Brexit" referendum process – instigation, campaigns, level of participants' information and public debate – were all deeply flawed, there is a case for another, early, referendum on this matter. To do this well we should rapidly introduce well-designed democratic procedures such as the citizens' proposition ("initiative") and voter-instigated, legally binding  referendum. A constitutional basis for this innovation in UK is already in place: in the Convention of Civil and Political Rights which says that citizens have the right to take part in their government both directly (on public issues) and indirectly at elections. This Convention has been ratified by Parliament and so the new regulations could reasonably be introduced, at least for emergency use, by a government order (then no need to wait for H o L and Queen ;-))

Our campaign group Citizens' Initiative and Referendum I&R ~ GB / would be happy to advise MPs and other people or groups on how to proceed with the introduction of a more citizen-led democracy : We can refer to a panel of experts in design of modern democracy.

Campaign for direct democracy in Britain
Citizens' Initiative and Referendum I&R ~ GB

Ways to better democracy after UK "brexit" referendum

June 2016

Statement by Campaign for direct democracy in Britain

After the Brexit result many are now asking, should we have more referenda or do they do more harm than good? This invites the question, can we improve the quality of our democracy and the ways in which we conduct our public affairs?

Our democracy is way out of date and badly designed so that elected politicians often fail to represent the majority of us.

In recent years Government and Parliament have carried out ballots, referenda about: Scottish independence; the House of Commons electoral system (alternative vote); the European Union. As ruling politicians see it, with these ballots they were asking the people for their opinion about an important public issue. The results of these votes are *not* legally binding but are only advisory and may be ignored by the government of the day. This is weak democracy of poor quality.

In our opinion our state needs more and better democracy, not less. The right to initiate a referendum should belong to the people (acting through the electorate) and not lie only, as now in effect, with the government.

What is meant by "more and better democracy"?

For instance,  a large number of voters should be able to start a veto referendum of government policy or make a formal proposal for electoral decision (ballot) on new law. See more detail at

Campaign for direct democracy in Britain
Citizens' Initiative and Referendum I&R ~ GB

The Labour Party could win supporters and mobilise non-voters by proposing genuine citizen-led direct democracy

Our comment to The Independent newspaper 25 Sept. 2016

Win votes for LP by promising the citizen-launched referendum, law-proposal and veto-ballot.

Labour is way behind in the polls and Corbyn's chances of winning the next general election look slim. Opposing Theresa May's grammar school idea may win a few votes but not enough. Labour will need some good and convincing policy proposals. In the "brexit" ballot the "leavers" voted to take back control of our government. So, why not promise as a political party to give more control of (our own) public affairs back to the people?

Around 75 percent of eligible voters at the last general election did NOT vote Tory. According to repeated surveys around the same proportion of British adults support the introduction of direct democracy, for instance that a large agreed number of voters can make a public proposal and so trigger a binding ballot to decide the matter. Probably there is considerable overlap of these two "populations".  So, please lobby to place the introduction of elements of local and central direct democracy, to complement "representative" and party democracy, centrally in future Labour Party policy :-)


KH replied to the above, referring to the just re-confirmed leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn: "He's also spoken briefly about direct democracy (some kind of digital referendum system)."

INIREF replies:

The last Labour gov. published ideas about empowering citizens through direct democracy (e.g. Hazel Blears, Communities minister). The Power Inquiry (2004-6) came up with some good suggestions (e.g. Recommendation 24. Power Report) but after the report Gordon Brown did not get further than the idea of gov. managed citizens' juries – a form of consultation of "the public" by a ruling government: not very empowering :-(

The Con/Libdem coalition (2010) promised to introduce some elements of citizen governance (e.g. 5 percent of electorate could obtain a local referendum on any issue of local government) (David Cameron had promised in 2009 to introduce "citizen-instigated" ballots at *national* level too) but the coalition did not keep the promises.

So here is a field where Labour could show how things can be done better.

The idea of having "political rights" (*between* elections) as a citizen is close to the heart of many people. The "tools" of direct democracy enable people in all walks of life to put forward proposals to their peers and to say "no" to unacceptable policies.

He's also spoken briefly about direct democracy (some kind of digital referendum system).

He's also spoken briefly about direct democracy (some kind of digital referendum system).

voters take control

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