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School of History

Mile End Institute “Future of British Democracy” Series: Corruption and the British State

When: Thursday, November 12, 2020, 12:45 PM - 2:00 PM

Is the British state corrupt? The UK has traditionally scored well in global anti-corruption rankings, but concerns about corruption, cronyism and the conduct of elections have become increasingly prominent in public debate. In this webinar, we will ask whether Britain’s electoral laws are fit for purpose, in an age of digital campaigning, mass data harvesting and potential foreign interference; whether well-funded lobby groups exert too much influence over the political process; and whether scandals over procurement and public contracting during the Covid emergency require new rules and forms of oversight. We will assess the case for reforming public appointments, access to ministers, and the ‘revolving door’ between government and the private sector. 


Robert Barrington is Professor of Anti-Corruption Practice at the Centre for the Study of Corruption in the University of Sussex. He was formerly the UK head of Transparency International, where he campaigned to secure the Bribery Act, a national Anti-Corruption Strategy and Unexplained Wealth Orders. 


Peter Geoghegan is an Irish writer, broadcaster and investigations editor at the award-winning news website OpenDemocracy. His most recent book, Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics, explores the role of dark money and digital disinformation in undermining democratic politics. 


Margaret Hodge served as Chair of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) from 2010 to 2015. During that period, the PAC launched major investigations into tax avoidance by international companies, the relationship between HMRC and private accountancy firms, and waste in public procurement. She has been a Labour MP since 1994 and has served in a number of roles in government.


Chair: Robert Saunders is a Reader in Modern British History at Queen Mary University of London. He is also Co-Director of the Mile End Institute. His books include Yes to Europe! The 1975 Referendum and Seventies Britain.


This webinar forms part of the Mile End Institute’s British Democracy Series. For future events, please sign up to our mailing list at 

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