UK public increasingly open to authoritarianism - study

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.

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.

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