LONDON - A poll by an influential Tory think-tank revealed the United Kingdom (UK) is moving away from liberal democratic values in favour of protection from leaders.

More than a third of young voters now believe the UK should be ruled by the military instead of parliament, according to new research.

A poll for Onward – an influential Tory think-tank – found that the country is in the midst of a move away from liberal democratic values, with voters now prioritising the protection leaders can offer them.

The survey of 5,000 people found that 65% of Brits now want a society that focuses on giving people more security rather than one dedicated to giving people more freedom – a sentiment that was echoed across every age group, ethnicity and social background.

But it was young people who emerged as the most in favour of authoritarian models of government.

Not only did 36% of voters aged 25 to 34 say they would be in favour of the army running the country, but two-thirds said they supported strong leaders “who do not have to bother with parliament”.

The findings come amid a row about whether Boris Johnson – who has refused to rule out shutting down parliament in order to force through a no-deal Brexit – could remain prime minister even if he lost a confidence vote in the Commons.

Finally, around a quarter of this group (26%) said they thought democracy was a bad way to run the country.

In comparison, only 3% of older voters said democracy was bad, with just one in 10 people aged 65 to 74 supporting the idea of a military state. Less than half said they backed strongman leaders.

Other findings included:

71% of people think more people living in cities has made society worse
61% of voters believe jobs and wages have been made worse by technological change
59% said increases in immigration have had a negative effect on the economy, compared to 41% who said they have had a positive impact
two-thirds of voters said that more people going to university instead of getting technical qualifications has been a bad thing for the country overall
According to the Conservative think-tank, the findings are a sign that “the pendulum of liberty has swung too far”, with voters now looking for a government that will protect them and their families.

Will Tanner – a former advisor to Theresa May who launched the report alongside Lord James O’Shaughnessy – said the prime minister must move the Conservative Party away from its “obsession” with liberty and towards “the politics of belonging” if he wants to win a majority in parliament.

“Most voters are not freedom fighters who want more rampant individualism, a small state and lower taxes,” Tanner said. “They want well-funded public services, security for their family, and a strong community in the place in which they live.”

Meanwhile O’Shaughnessy, a Tory peer, said the results showed a “sea change in British politics”. “This marks a break with 60 years of liberal consensus,” he said.