Immigration and Perceptions of the Political System in Britain


  • Lauren M. McLaren


Recently published research contends that concern about immigration is weakening the British political system by creating distrust in the elites and institutions in this system. Some may challenge this finding because the public opinion data used to illustrate this relationship is limited to the period of the recent Labour government, raising the possibility that it was an artefact of that era and thus may no longer hold. Using the most recent round of the European Social Survey (2010–11), this paper investigates whether this finding holds in the present era. The findings indicate that under the current Conservative-Liberal Democratic government, concern about immigration is still related to negative perceptions of the political system. This finding, along with those reported in previous research, points to potentially serious negative consequences for the functioning of the British political system, which are discussed in the concluding section of the paper.