Fifty Labour figures unite on reforms so ‘take back control’ means something

Senior MPs back six-point charter to restore trust post-Brexit


More than 50 Labour figures from across the party spectrum – including Diane Abbott, Ed Miliband, Stella Creasy, Alan Johnson, Clive Lewis and Chuka Umunna – have signed a new six-point charter calling for radical reform to British politics.

The charter is the work of an advisory panel of senior Labour figures who consulted with party members and supporters to coincide with a Fabian Society report on political reform.

It points to recent events, from Brexit to the financial crash to scandals at the BBC, to argue ‘British politics is gripped with fear and mistrust’, creating a threat to a ‘healthy democracy’.

It proposes six key areas of action to curb this threat, including an overhaul of political education, online voting, automatic voter registration, House of Lords reform, action on party funding and electoral reform.

You can read the full charter and list of signatories below. 

Jonathan Reynolds MP, who chaired the group which wrote the charter, said:

‘Labour figures from across the political spectrum have come together to say that it is time for the party to get serious about democratic reform.

This charter sets out six ways to reset our democracy, and make sure that every citizen feels they have the power to change the world.

That means an information revolution, radical reform to how we vote, and real action to tackle the corrosive influence of big money in our politics.

I hope the charter will find support across the Labour movement. While some demands may divide opinion, hopefully that won’t mean inaction on the rest.’

Members of the advisory panel who have signed this charter are: Lewis Baston, Ann Black, Wayne David MP, Melanie Onn MP, former trade unionist Billy Hayes, Cllr Reema Patel, Ellie Reeves, Jonathan Reynolds MP, Alexandra Runswick, and Nan Sloane.


The charter

British politics is gripped by fear and mistrust. The vote to leave the European Union was the latest expression of the deteriorating relationship between democratic institutions and the public.

By voting to ‘take back control’ the British people have made a powerful statement about the state of our democracy that must not be ignored.

Britain’s democratic decline has been gathering pace for decades. The individualism of the Thatcher years taught people to believe in the ‘I’ not the ‘we’, breaking community bonds and a sense of cooperation.

The financial crash of 2008 created huge economic uncertainty.

And, a series of scandals have hit Britain’s most trusted institutions, including parliament, the press, the police and the BBC.

Political parties have been found wanting in response to these challenges, pursuing the politics of the soundbite and the median voter, and failing to connect with vast swathes of the public who feel that politics has no relevance to their lives.

The vital ingredient for a healthy democracy is the participation of citizens who feel powerful. Today, that is under threat.

We, the undersigned, call for a democratic ‘reset’ to ensure our politics faces outwards and encourages people to have their say. We call for politicians to urgently pursue democratic reform in the interests of the strength and stability of our United Kingdom:

Prioritise political education with strengthened political and citizenship education at school and throughout life, including school councils that enable pupils to make meaningful change.

An open, accessible and participative democracy with automatic voter registration, greater citizen participation in public institutions of all kinds and the use of new technologies to make it easier to vote. In the future, we should work towards safe and secure online voting.

An information revolution with tougher regulation of the use of statistics by politicians and campaigners, clearer, more accessible information about political parties and elections from an independent source and a published job description for MPs.

Action to remove the influence of big money in our politics with a comprehensive register of all lobbyists and action for a fairer and more sustainable funding system. This should consider, in the longer term, increased state funding and low level caps on donations to political parties.

A fairer and more representative democracy with a democratically elected house of lords which amplifies the voice of nations and regions, votes for sixteen year olds, and a fairer voting system where every vote makes a difference, but where we retain constituency representatives. Such a system is already in place for elections in Scotland, Wales, and London.

Diverse politicians who are rooted in their communities with a democracy diversity fund, central publication of equalities data on candidates at all elections, and the use of positive action.

Founding Signatories

  1. Diane Abbott MP
  2. Richard Angell, Director of Progress
  3. Jessica Asato, former parliamentary candidate
  4. James Asser, member of Labour’s NEC
  5. Ivana Bartoletti, Chair of the Fabian Women’s Network
  6. Lewis Baston, psephologist
  7. Johanna Baxter, member of Labour’s NEC
  8. Ann Black, member of Labour’s NEC
  9. Andrew Blick, Kings College London
  10. Paul Blomfield MP
  11. Ben Bradshaw MP
  12. Will Brett, Electoral Reform Society
  13. Richard Burden MP
  14. Emma Burnell, Labour activist and blogger
  15. Benjamin Butterworth, Chair of London Young Labour
  16. David Chaplin, Fabian Society Executive
  17. David Coats, Labour activist
  18. Stella Creasy MP
  19. Wayne David MP
  20. Kate Dearden, Chair of Labour Students
  21. Patrick Diamond, Policy Network
  22. Cllr Natan Doron
  23. Katie Ghose, Electoral Reform Society
  24. Helen Goodman MP
  25. Billy Hayes, former general secretary of the CWU
  26. Mary Honeyball MEP
  27. Alan Johnson MP
  28. Baroness Helena Kennedy QC
  29. Baroness Oona King
  30. Stephen Kinnock MP
  31. Neal Lawson, Director of Compass
  32. Matthew Laza, Policy Network
  33. Clive Lewis MP
  34. Fiona Mactaggart MP
  35. Deborah Mattinson, Britain Thinks
  36. Ed Miliband MP
  37. Sheila Murphy, former Labour regional director
  38. Cllr Tony Newman, Leader of Croydon Council
  39. Melanie Onn MP
  40. Kate O’Rourke, Chair, Society of Labour Lawyers
  41. Cllr Reema Patel
  42. Ellie Reeves, NEC
  43. Jonathan Reynolds MP
  44. Baroness Jan Royall
  45. Alexandra Runswick, Director of Unlock Democracy
  46. Oliver Sidorczuk, Bite the Ballot
  47. Nan Sloane, Centre for Women and Democracy
  48. Mary Southcott, Labour Campaign for Electoral Reform
  49. Stephen Twigg MP
  50. Chuka Umunna MP
  51. Heidi Alexander MP
  52. Graham Allen MP

Labour supporters can sign the charter here.

See: Post-Brexit women’s rights charter launched at Labour conference

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