Stephen Crone

Despite Cameron’s defeat on intervening in Syria, Parliament actually has relatively weak war powers compared to legislatures in other democracies

Last night, in a highly unusual move, the House of Commons voted against the UK’s intervention with military force in the on-going conflict in Syria, the first time a prime minister has lost a vote on military action since 1782. As part of Democratic Audit’s 2012 audit of UK democracy, Stuart Wilks-Heeg, Andrew Blick, and Stephen Crone considered Parliament’s powers in this area. Although Parliament has […]

Concerns about objectivity mean that there needs to be much more scrutiny of external appointments to government departmental boards

Often providing valuable ‘outside’ experience, the presence of non-executive directors on the boards of Whitehall departments is not new. However, new coalition proposals to enhance these roles have largely gone under the radar. Stephen Crone of Democratic Audit has concerns that some of these recent appointments may not be entirely objective, given the commercial and political interests of the people involved. More scrutiny of these appointments […]

Despite the dysfunctionality of First Past the Post, there is no clear evidence of a public desire for Proportional Representation

The apparent disproportionality of our current First Past the Post system is at the heart of the current debate on electoral reform, with many seeing Proportional Representation as being the best solution. But how has public opinion responded over the years? Stuart Wilks-Heeg and Stephen Crone of Democratic Audit have examined opinion polls since the 1970s and have found that […]

Contrary to recent assertions, the British political class is not becoming more exclusive to public school and Oxbridge types, but there has still been a remarkable resilience in the presence of the privileged in the post-war period

In ‘Posh and Posher: Why Public School Boys Run Britain’, Andrew Neil warned that public school boys and Oxbridge graduates are taking over politics once more – but is there any truth to the story? Stephen Crone argues that, in fact, politics is not becoming more socially exclusive, but neither is the traditional entrenchment of privilege on the wane and indeed it […]

Just 50 ‘donor groups’ have supplied over half of the Conservative party’s declared donation income in the last decade, a fact disguised by legal ‘fame avoidance’ techniques

Although the Election Commission has published data before on who gives what to political parties, by splitting up donations across multiple family members or between personal and company donations it has been legally possible for huge donors to largely avoid publicity. Not any more though, because Stephen Crone and Stuart Wilks-Heeg have analysed all donation income received by the Conservative […]

Party funding reforms are overdue in the UK, but they should not be rushed

At the 2010 election the Conservatives and Labour each spent five times more than the Liberal Democrats, and over 62 times the expenditure by the Greens. The scramble after donors by the top three parties is clearly now distorting British politics, and leading to constitutional tensions – revived last week by the prominence of major party donors […]