Quakers call on new government to stand by promise to clean up public life

Quakers in Britain has pledged to work with the new government and opposition parties to restore trust in our democracy.

Prime Minister Keir Starmer hosts his first Cabinet at 10 Downing Street, photo credit: Lauren Hurley / No 10 Downing Street (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Along with work on climate justice, peace and migration, Quakers are focusing on the threats to UK democracy posed by the behaviour of some politicians, and by recent legislation undermining human rights.

The faith group this week joined 22 other signatories in congratulating Keir Starmer on his appointment as prime minister and urging him to make a clear statement in the House of Commons.

The prime minister should tell the House that all Ministers and MPs must follow the Nolan Principles of standards in public life, and that he will act decisively on any breaches, the letter said.

In the letter, civil society groups including Shelter and Refugee Action encouraged Starmer to put in place the new Ethics and Integrity Commission and other steps promised in the Labour manifesto.

Starmer should tell the House that his government was committed to the rule of law, including international humanitarian law, and that it would respect the civil service's impartiality, signatories wrote.

Quakers in Britain also signed a multi-faith letter calling for the vision, experience and expertise of the faith and belief sector to be a key voice in re-imagining a new Britain.


This change of government is an opportunity to rebuild trust in our democracy

- Paul Parker


The letter, coordinated by the Faith and Belief Forum, urged the incoming government to consult widely with faith and belief communities and ensure they are represented in state institutions.

Paul Parker, recording clerk for Quakers in Britain, said: “Quakers trust the promptings of love and truth as the leadings of God, whose Light brings us to new life.

“This change of government is an opportunity to rebuild trust in our democracy and we urge the prime minister to stand by his promise to 'clean up' public life."

Office for National Statistics data released in March showed that UK public faith in political parties fell from 20 per cent in 2022, to 12 per cent in 2023.

Political chaos and factional infighting within the Conservative Party, added to the Partygate scandal, have hastened the decline in public trust.

Truth and integrity will form part of the agenda for the Quakers' annual gathering later this month, including sessions prepared by the Quaker Truth and Integrity Group (QTIG).

Following a deepening concern over ethics in public office, QTIG was officially formed in 2022.

Read more about the Quaker Truth and Integrity Group’s work here