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.
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.
- Diane Abbott MP
- Richard Angell, Director of Progress
- Jessica Asato, former parliamentary candidate
- James Asser, member of Labour’s NEC
- Ivana Bartoletti, Chair of the Fabian Women’s Network
- Lewis Baston, psephologist
- Johanna Baxter, member of Labour’s NEC
- Ann Black, member of Labour’s NEC
- Andrew Blick, Kings College London
- Paul Blomfield MP
- Ben Bradshaw MP
- Will Brett, Electoral Reform Society
- Richard Burden MP
- Emma Burnell, Labour activist and blogger
- Benjamin Butterworth, Chair of London Young Labour
- David Chaplin, Fabian Society Executive
- David Coats, Labour activist
- Stella Creasy MP
- Wayne David MP
- Kate Dearden, Chair of Labour Students
- Patrick Diamond, Policy Network
- Cllr Natan Doron
- Katie Ghose, Electoral Reform Society
- Helen Goodman MP
- Billy Hayes, former general secretary of the CWU
- Mary Honeyball MEP
- Alan Johnson MP
- Baroness Helena Kennedy QC
- Baroness Oona King
- Stephen Kinnock MP
- Neal Lawson, Director of Compass
- Matthew Laza, Policy Network
- Clive Lewis MP
- Fiona Mactaggart MP
- Deborah Mattinson, Britain Thinks
- Ed Miliband MP
- Sheila Murphy, former Labour regional director
- Cllr Tony Newman, Leader of Croydon Council
- Melanie Onn MP
- Kate O’Rourke, Chair, Society of Labour Lawyers
- Cllr Reema Patel
- Ellie Reeves, NEC
- Jonathan Reynolds MP
- Baroness Jan Royall
- Alexandra Runswick, Director of Unlock Democracy
- Oliver Sidorczuk, Bite the Ballot
- Nan Sloane, Centre for Women and Democracy
- Mary Southcott, Labour Campaign for Electoral Reform
- Stephen Twigg MP
- Chuka Umunna MP
- Heidi Alexander MP
- Graham Allen MP
Labour supporters can sign the charter here.Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.