Quakers and MPs explore building kinder ground in politics
MPs from Westminster's three largest parties shared their thoughts on truth and integrity with Quakers at a webinar on 16 November.
The first of two webinars, the event is the latest work of the Quaker Truth and Integrity Group (QTIG), instituted last year following a deep concern over ethics in public office.
Held in association with Woodbrooke, the Quaker learning and research organisation, the first webinar brought together Philip Dunne, Conservative MP, Catherine West, Labour MP, and Richard Thompson, SNP MP.
Trust is an essential foundation for a successful democracy- Gerald Hewitson, QTIG clerk
There has been a decline in ethics in public life, as exemplified by former PM Boris Johnson deliberately misleading parliament over lock-down parties held at Downing Street.
Recent research by the Institute of Public Policy Research shows that just 6 per cent of the public have full trust in the current political system.
But QTIG believe many in public life are people of integrity and seek to work with them to reach “kinder ground".
All three MPs agreed that there is more collaborative working across parliament than is shown in the media, and all said they had gone into politics to improve the lot of their constituents.
“Trust is an essential foundation for a successful democracy; when trust is undermined, so is the democratic process. Acting with integrity is an essential part of trust- building,“ said Gerald Hewitson, clerk of QTIG.
But he added: “These webinars featuring MPs are a significant development for QTIG and for the strengthening of truth and integrity at a national level.
“Quakers have a history of being led to act, and we have found if we take the right step then way opens further, as we are finding with this work."
The second webinar will be held on 23 November and will look at how individuals can promote kinder ground in politics through building relationships with their MPs and fostering dialogue.