Honesty and Trust

Suggested clause for constitution:

'Members of Parliament must carry out their duties in a manner which is honest and trustworthy'


Idea behind the draft clause:

Tiime and time again the public ask for honesty and trustwirthiness from politicians and over and over politicians let us down. 

The constitution should state that these are core qualities and that all members of Parliament must carry out their duties in s manner which is honest and trustworthy.

Tagged users
edited on Apr 12, 2015 by Ian Smith

Ian Smith Apr 5, 2015

Dear All,

I am posting a quick comment here and in my other ideas.

Firstly, I want to say how much I have enjoyed seeing all of your contributions on this and other ideas and how impressed I am with the range of expertise and erudition which has filled these debates.

Secondly, I wish to put forward a couple of suggestions as to a way forward at this stage.  They are:

A.   I suggest that we all refrain from further voting until the ideas have been refined and represented and have then been debated for a while.  My thinking here is that we will want to see the reshaped ideas and see the comments on those refined ideas before we decide whether they are to be voted up or down,  I do not think that we should refrain from voting on comments but perhaps try not to vote too hastily on them.

B.  Now that the hurly burly of the "Hacking" phase (some of it quite savage) has passed, I hope and wish that we will adopt a more collaborative and less combative approach in our commentary, so that commentary is given a chance to be constructive and really do the job of refining the ideas in question.

C.  I would hope that we can refrain from attacking the very existence of the idea under discussion in this phase or the fact that it has successfully gone through to this phase against the wishes of those who voted it down.  I sincerely hope that the previous critics of an idea, will still respect that it found favour with the crowd and now help to refine the idea in this phase.

Thirdly, I will try my best not to introduce any more typos and mangled phrases! 

Best wishes for the holiday weekend!


Ian Smith Apr 7, 2015

Dear All,

Before I draft a suggested clause for the constitution, I should be very grateful if you would let me have any further thoughts on this idea and in particular the form of a constitutional clause.

Kind regards,


Tom Austin Apr 9, 2015

I count six similar proposals under the Parliament Topic:

-This one.  FOI  https://constitutionuk.com/post/99114 , FOI   https://constitutionuk.com/post/84917 , Transparency   https://constitutionuk.com/post/84907 , Integrity & Ethics  https://constitutionuk.com/post/80449 ,  and perhaps:Accountability of the security services  https://constitutionuk.com/post/81034

Is there any way to bring these together? "Ethics & Scrutiny"?


Jake Wellman Apr 9, 2015

Thanks for connecting those other ideas, Tom Austin. 

I've tagged the proposers of the ideas you linked to in this comment. Hopefully there can be some discussion around what type of proposals would be good to include in a UK Constitution on these issues.


-JWellman, moderator

John Z Apr 9, 2015

"Money is the root of all evil" in regards to politicians.  My proposal references money in regards to financial and business interests of the MP, and his or her family;  gifts;  and future lobbying once they leave Westminster.  If we leave this to Parliament to initiate legislation, it will be so watered down that it may be worthless.  So it is my opinion that these concepts be merged with the other proposals regarding ethics of MP's.

Tom Austin Apr 9, 2015

John, please be a dear and post a link to your proposal on this page, somebody should.

John Z Apr 10, 2015

Here it is:  https://constitutionuk.com/post/80449   And below I copied & pasted it:

"I would include language in the UK Constitution that integrity, ethics, and the removal of all actual and potential conflicts of interests is paramount for maintaining public confidence.  For instance, the Constitution shall include (but not be limited to):

1.  that Parliament shall pass rules regarding MP's revealing all of their and their immediate family members' financial and business interests;  and

2.  that MP's shall abstain from voting on legislation that effects such financial and business interests;

3.  that MP's shall refrain from accepting gifts other than those deemed de minimus (amount to be determined by Parliament);

4.  MP's shall not obtain any type of lobbying job for a period of at least 5 years after leaving their job as MP.

Failure to abide by these rules shall result in censure by the House and/or a fine;  and if the violaton is egregious enough, the MP shall be removed as an MP and pay a fine;  and if the violation is criminal, they shall also be criminally prosecuted.  Regarding option 4 above where the former MP obviously can not be removed because they are already gone, then they shall be subject to a fine and/or it will become a crime in the statute books." 

John Z Apr 10, 2015

I stand by the statement about "Money is the root of all evil" in regards to politicians, which is why I also support campaign finance reform (such as caps on donations AND funding should be by people only [and not corporations, unions, etc...]).  Public service is an honor;  it should not be for profit.

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Tom Austin Apr 11, 2015

Accountability, Openness and Probity of Politics under this Constitution.

Freedom of information:

i - Public;  All business of Government shall be (a) Published through annual reports (prior to Budgets) (b) Details to be made available through FOI requests at low cost at any time save where exempted under (ii) and (iii) below.

ii - Parliament;  In addition to (i) above ordinary Members shall have ready access to all but the most sensitive information relating to Government business subject only to the provisions of (iii) below.

iii - Committees; Matters of Government business relating to;commercial sensitivity, national security and privacy of an individual considered to be outwith the scope of (i) and (ii) above shall be subject to scrutiny by a Select Committee associated with general matters of a particular aspect of Government business, such committees to be held in public whenever possible and publish reports at any time and annually.


i - MP;   All subject to strict arms-length regulation, shall publish a list of all financial and business interests and keep such a list current.

ii - Cabinet Member;  All shall publish all financial and business interests of members of their immediate family in addition to (i) above.

iii - Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister;  Shall in addition to (i) and (ii) above face sterner limitations as laid out below for all elected to Parliament.


i - MP; May speak upon matters related to their published interests, but not vote. May be appointed to committees related to matters within the scope of their published interests and co-author committee reports, but not chair the committee.

ii - Cabinet Member; May not hold a Senior Ministerial Post relating to their published interests, they may contribute to inter-ministry discussion.

iii - Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister; Shall divest themselves of all involvement and conduct relating to their published interests and place their affairs under a Blind Trust.

iv - All Members of Parliament; 

(a) Shall refrain from accepting any gift above a minimus set by Parliament.

(b) Shall refrain from all paid Lobbying while in office and for a period no less that five years from their leaving office.

(c) Failure to comply with any of the above will incur a penalty no less than suspension from Parliament and may in any event be subject to The Right of Recall laid down elsewhere within this Constitution.