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.
THE BELL PRINCIPLES
• 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?