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Constitution Unit publishes joint statement on standards

24 June 2024

The Constitution Unit has today published a joint statement with the Institute for Government and UK Governance Project setting out seven steps to restore trust in the system for regulating ethics in public life.

The top of the letter associated with the statement in The Times.

The Constitution Unit has today, 24 June, published a joint statement with the Institute for Government and UK Governance Project (a cross-party commission chaired by former Attorney General Dominic Grieve KC) setting out seven steps to restore trust in the system for regulating ethics in public life, many of which a Prime Minister can easily implement straightaway.

The leaders of these organisations, Dr Hannah White, Professor Meg Russell and Dominic Grieve KC, have also been joined by numerous others in writing a letter to The Times in support of the statement.

Drawing on recent reports from the Institute for Government, Constitution Unit and UK Governance Project, the seven steps cover the Ministerial Code, conflicts of interest, lobbying, post-government employment and appointments, appointments to the House of Lords, public appointments and the honours system.

This call is made at crucial moment as the next government has the opportunity to renew and strengthen the standards which protect our democracy, at a time when trust in UK politics and the people and institutions of public life are at an all-time low.

The following people signed the letter in The Times:

  • Hannah White, director of the Institute for Government
  • Professor Meg Russell, director, UCL Constitution Unit
  • Helen MacNamara, former deputy cabinet secretary and head of the cabinet secretariat
  • Dominic Grieve KC, former attorney general for England and Wales
  • Rain Newton-Smith, director-general of the CBI
  • Lord Lisvane, former clerk of the House of Commons
  • Daniel Bruce, chief executive, Transparency International UK
  • Susan Hawley, executive director, Spotlight on Corruption
  • Jennifer Nadel, co-director, Compassion in Politics
  • Tom Brake, director, Unlock Democracy
  • Darren Hughes, chief executive, Electoral Reform Society
  • Professor Liz David-Barrett, director, Centre for the Study of Corruption
  • Professor Robert Hazell, former director, UCL Constitution Unit
  • Peter Riddell, former commissioner for public appointments
  • Dame Margaret Hodge, former chairwoman of the public accounts committee
  • Professor David Howarth, professor of law and public policy, University of Cambridge
  • Sir Jonathan Jones KC, former Treasury solicitor and head of the government legal service
  • Lord Burns, former Treasury permanent secretary
  • Lord Jay, former FCO permanent secretary
  • Professor Anand Menon, director of UK in a Changing Europe and professor of European politics and foreign affairs at King’s College London
  • Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury, former president of the Supreme Court
  • Baroness Prashar, former first civil service commissioner
  • Lord Anderson of Ipswich, former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation
  • Lord Sumption, former justice of the Supreme Court
  • Baroness Hayman, former Lord Speaker
  • Baroness D’Souza, former Lord Speaker
  • Oliver Letwin, former chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
  • Baroness Wheatcroft, former editor of The Sunday Telegraph
  • Philip Rycroft, former head of UK Governance Group, Cabinet Office
  • Philip Rutnam, former Home Office permanent secretary
  • Clare Moriarty, former permanent secretary, Defra
  • Lord McDonald of Salford, former FCO permanent Secretary
  • Baroness Browning, electoral commissioner 2010-12, chairwoman of the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments 2014-2019, member of the House of Lords Appointments Commission 2018-23
  • Sir David Normington, first civil service commissioner and commissioner for public appointments 2011-16

Authors of recent reports on standards from all three organisations (Dominic Grieve KC, Peter Riddell and Tim Durrant) will speak at the first panel of our free, online conference on standards in government and parliament at 1pm today (24 June). Other panels will cover English devolution, the rule of law and House of Lords reform. A recording of each panel will be made available on YouTube and in podcast form after they take place.

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