Cleaning Up Politics & Public Life
Irrespective of who is in power, the British public need to trust that those in public office are accountable, open to scrutiny, spend public money wisely and put the interests of the people before party politics.
The leaders and representatives elected by us must lead by example and behave with decency, honesty and integrity.
There must not be one rule for them and another for the rest of us.
Whilst a written, fully codified constitution may be optimal, this could take decades to consult upon, debate and decide. The True & Fair Party believes there are several urgent steps we can take to clean up British politics, modernise our machinery of government, and improve the fairness of our voting system.
The True & Fair Party believe it is naïve to trust that people in power will simply behave properly.
No more excuses
It is time to clean up our politics.
It is time to modernise our machinery of government.
It is time to stop the conflicts of interest and strengthen our democracy.
It is time to put in place rules and regulations that will hold whoever is in power to account.
Media Ownership Reforms
A key element of improving our democracy, level of debate and decency is to reform the ownership of British media. True & Fair's policy is that only British taxpayers should be allowed to own British media.
True & Fair Policy Proposals
Improve Democratic and Constitutional Law
Establish a Democratic Taskforce of prominent constitutional experts and practitioners to formulate rules and legislation to address:
- Prerogative powers by the PM and Government Ministers
- Setting up an Office of Public Spending & Procurement akin to the Office of Budget Responsibility
- Introduction of a Modern Magna Carta so fundamental citizens' rights are protected and written into law
- Establishment of a Legislation Committee to scrutinise all proposed Bills before they go before Parliament
- Defining in law the role of the Leader of the House and the process for the Business of the House
- Introducing transparency and scrutiny of secondary legislation
- Fundamental reform of Whips' Offices (an antiquated term from hunting that referred to whipping the dogs) to end bullying and enable MPs to vote freely, with good conscience
- Ban all bars, sale of alcohol in the Palace of Westminster's premises as it is a workplace.
Oath of Office and Employment for MPs
- Enshrining the Nolan principles in law: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty, leadership
- An Oath of Office to apply to all MPs and public servants
- Monitoring of the Oath of Office and the Ministerial Code by an official Body with similar powers to the National Audit Office
- A legal code of conduct for government publications and advertising campaigns
- Ban paid second jobs for sitting MPs (except for a specific case by case list of exceptions) with a cap on earnings
- Blind Trusts: copies of any Blind Trust arrangements holding a Minister's assets should be submitted as well as a list of assets transferred to the Trust on its establishment and contact details for the Trustee
- Boundary Commission Review to reduce the number of seats in the House of Commons
- Consultation or Citizen’s Assembly on a minimum age for MPs / life experience before standing to become an MP / limiting term of office.
House of Lords
The House of Lords is an outdated, antiquated 'club' funded by our taxes. Between April 2019 and March 2020, the expenses and allowances bill was £17.7 million; including claims from Peers who never speak or vote in the chamber.
By creating a new chamber with a mix of experts and elected members, serving no more than 10 years, UK taxpayers can be more confident that legislation is better scrutinised, and governments better held to account.
Complete overhaul of the Upper House:
- Rename The Upper House to a more democratic, modern name
- Reduce to a 400 elected, experience-led, expert nominee chamber
- No member to sit for longer than 10 years
- No hereditary peers
Increased Devolution and Localism
- Bring political decision-making much closer to people at a local level boosting accountability
- Regularisation of local government structures to ensure even representation across the country
- Dedicated action to ending the north / south divide by devolving funding and policy making to Metro Mayors and local authorities
Transparency, Lobbying and Freedom of Information (FOI) Reforms
- Ban paid lobbying by sitting MPs
- Require in-house lobbyists to make submissions on their activities in the same way as consultant lobbyists
- Introduce a register of Think Tanks and their funders
- Amend the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act to include a default disclosure period, codifying a "presumption of openness" into law
- Annual publication of a list of all consultancy firms used by the Civil Service and the amounts firms have been paid. (2020 - 2021 Government and other bodies handed contracts to consultants worth £2.5bn, up from £1.2bn in 2019-20)
Renewing our democracy must include electoral reform to a fairer system in which voters can be confident that their votes really count.
In the 2019 General Election the Conservatives gained an additional 49 seats in England, a 9.2% increase in seats with just a 1.8% increase in votes. Put another way, 44% of the country voted Conservative - but have 56% of MPs in Parliament.
Without a fair, proportional voting system where every vote counts, other constitutional improvements such as increased devolution will fail to deliver the promised rewards, and voters will continue to feel their voices and concerns are not being represented.
The True & Fair Party believe it is now urgent that a fairer proportional representation voting system is put in place to end the hundreds of years of an unfair duopoly, and rebuild trust with voters.
Whilst there are different forms of proportional representation, the True & Fair Party supports a Single Transferable Vote (STV) model because:
- STV ensures voters are represented by local candidates, whilst allowing for more proportional representation of the wide range of political views held by voters
- STV is better than the Alternative Vote, as AV is susceptible to gerrymandering, lacks proportional representation, and still trends towards a two-party system
- STV is better than Mixed-member proportional representation, as this does not give voters the opportunity to remove a local candidate who is unpopular, due to candidates being chosen by the political parties
Voting Systems Improvements
The True & Fair Party backs Citizen Assemblies to debate the voting reform issues, including:
- Making voting compulsory
- Lowering the voting age to 16 years of age
- Digitising the voting system