Latest Issue

How the Electoral Commission came to embody Britain’s political crisis

What happens if we stop trusting elections? As accusations of bias abound—and concerns are raised over the bodies that regulate political life—faith in democracy is in a perilous position

By Steve Bloomfield   December 2019

Public trust in voting could be at risk. Photo: Prospect composite

During the course of the 1826 general election, Quintin Dick’s bar bill came to £4,000—none of the drinks were for him. Dick, who represented six different constituencies from 1800 to 1852, was not the only politician in the 19th century buying votes but he was perhaps the most brazen. In one election, knowing it was illegal for the candidate himself to hand out money, he had his wife walk a few yards behind him, giving gold sovereigns…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect