The Principles for an Independent MP

Reading through the blog from the Independent Network I came across a post from back in November which outlines the key principles that they want all independent MPs to follow.

The principles follow an initial draft by Martin Bell and have then been finalised and adopted by the Independent Network.

Of course the Seven Principles of Public Life produced by Lord Nolan are the basis for the guiding principles of the Independent Network – but they also look to take Lord Nolan’s ideas much further.

You can read the original post here, but it’s worth repeating all the principles anyway.


We will

• abide wholeheartedly by the spirit and letter of the Seven Principles of Public Life set out by Lord Nolan in 1995: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership

• be guided by considered evidence, our real world experience and expertise, our constituencies and our consciences

• be free from the control of any political party, pressure group or whip

• be non-discriminatory, ethical and committed to pluralism

• make decisions transparently and openly at every stage and level of the political process, enabling people to see how decisions are made and the evidence on which they are based

• listen, consulting our communities constantly and innovatively

• treat political opponents with courtesy and respect, challenging them when we believe they are wrong, and agreeing with them when we believe they are right

• resist abuses of power and patronage and promote democracy at every level

• work with other elected independents as a Group with a chosen spokesperson

• claim expenses, salaries and compensation openly so the public can judge the value for money of our activities.

I’m not sure how anyone with any true feelings for the independence of MPs could argue with any of these principles (although I’m sure that there will be some people wanting to ‘discuss’ the final wording).

I would like to add one more suggestion from me. Although this point is hinted at in points 2, 3 and 6 above I would like to make it explicit within the guidelines for any prospective independent candidate:

[We will] represent all of our constituents and work hard to put their needs at the forefront of all activities

So, who wants to sign up and follow those principles?

8 Responses to The Principles for an Independent MP

  1. I absolutely agree with these principles and quite frankly I would have thought existing MPs already agreed to these implicitly. These principles would have been irrelevant but for the expenses scandal. I have signed up to the principles and the addition is merely an extension to what I already do as an independent councillor for Derby. I think I will be standing at the General Election.

  2. Patrick says:

    You would have thought that they [the current crop of MPs] had implicitly signed up to these wouldn’t you? But from the evidence we’ve seen it doesn’t seem as if they have.

    Good luck if you do decide to stand.

  3. Social comments and analytics for this post…

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  4. I wish I had read the famous ‘Bell Principles’ sooner.

    I completely agree with them.

    Gordon Kennedy

  5. I am standing as an Independent MP in the new constituency in Rugby. These “Bell Principles” say exactly what I believe, but in a much more eloquent way than I may have expressed them. To restore democracy in this country we simply must have independent MPs who are free to think and act, and are not mere puppets, controlled and whipped into shape by their party masters/leaders. Parliament voted through the war in Iraq to “bring in democracy” – how hypocritical – when we have no actual democracy in our own country as the marginal seats hold sway, and are simply bought by the highest bidder! Vote for change – vote independent!

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