A letter to Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer: on restoring trust in democracy

The main building of the Cumberland Lodge venue

Cumberland Lodge has signed a joint letter calling on Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer to honour his manifesto commitment to uphold the ‘highest standards of integrity and honesty’ in his new government – essential to restoring public trust in democracy.

Written by Unlock Democracy, the letter urges the Prime Minister to make an early statement in the House of Commons setting out his intention to:

  • establish an independent Ethics and Integrity Commission
  • uphold the rule of law
  • introduce greater accountability
  • consult and engage with a range of partners and voices.

Key themes of our educational programme include youth and democracy, the rule of law, and ethical leadership, as we work to empower young people to question, challenge, and understand, some of the most complex social issues of our time.

The full letter has been shared by Unlock Democracy on X. You can read the full text below.

Read the full letter

Dear Prime Minister,

We would like to congratulate you on your appointment as our Prime Minister.  

We recognise the extensive and varied challenges you will face and acknowledge that government resources are finite, as is your government’s capacity to pass new laws.

However, trust is essential to a healthy democracy and good government, and we believe that as our Prime Minister, you can play a crucial role in restoring it.

This is not dependent on funding or legislative time and is key to unlocking the partnership working to which you have said you are committed.

To underline your manifesto commitment to ‘a reset in public life and a clean up that requires the highest standards of integrity and honesty’ we encourage you to make a clear statement in the House of Commons, very early in your term as PM, that:

  • you expect all Ministers and MPs to follow the Nolan Principles of standards in public life, and will act decisively on any breaches and will put in place the new Ethics and Integrity Commission and other steps promised in your manifesto as soon as possible to ensure this.
  • you will commit your government to abiding by the rule of law, including international humanitarian law, and you and your colleagues will respect the impartiality of the civil service and uphold the independence of the other institutions our democracy depends upon including the courts, civil society, and the BBC, at all times.
  • you will commit to greater transparency and accountability, including being open in response to Freedom of Information requests, regularly reporting Ministerial interests, making announcements to Parliament before the media, and stopping the use of secondary legislation to avoid Parliamentary scrutiny.
  • you will demonstrate by your actions, and that of your government, that you seek to unite the country rather than divide it, you will put the country before the party, and you will actively consult and engage with a range of partners, including civil society, to draw on their expertise, listen to the voices of those least heard in society, and demonstrate a willingness to work constructively with others.

We believe these four statements will demonstrate the new government is serious about creating a new style of government and cleaning up politics.

We look forward to working with you.

Dr Ed Newell,

Chief Executive, Cumberland Lodge