New Chairman of Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD), Richard Graham MP, says time for democracies to see off both new and traditional threats to accountability
Following his first official engagement, meeting the Speaker of the Parliament of Albania on 29 May, Richard Graham MP said “in these divisive times the temptations of autocracy to government as a less ‘messy’ way of delivering investment and growth are considerable. But the virtues of democracy – above all accountability to the people and an independent rule of law – are enormous. We need to help each other see off both the new threats of elections distorted by the manipulation of digitalisation, data and social media as well as the more traditional threats to the decision making of Parliaments and voters alike.”
Richard Graham MP added “the next five years are vital to how democracy can flourish in both strong and fragile economies across the world”.
Meeting Richard Graham MP, after his appointment, Foreign Secretary Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP said:
“WFD was founded to help democracies thrive, and since the fall of the Berlin Wall there has never been a more important time for this work. There are real challenges – as well as successes – to be faced, and Richard Graham brings huge experience and commitment as new Chairman to help WFD continue to make a real difference through its projects in over 30 countries across the world.”
WFD partners with UK political parties, parliaments, electoral and financial audit institutions to help development countries make their governments fairer, more effective and more accountable. Current WFD initiatives include: helping protect women from violence in the Middle East; engaging women, young people and people with disabilities in politics in sub-Saharan Africa; and building trust in democracy in the Western Balkans.
Last month, at the Commonwealth summit in London, the Foreign Secretary announced a £4 million WFD-led partnership to strengthen democracy and broaden political participation across 18 Commonwealth countries.
(Photo: Then Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson meets WFD Chairman Richard Graham MP and WFD Chief Executive Anthony Smith CMG.)