Civility in Politics Awards to reward ‘decency’ in public debate

civility in politics awards
© iStock/fotoVoyager

A new set of Civility in Politics Awards will celebrate UK politicians engaging in ‘thoughtful, reflective public debate’.

The atmosphere in the House of Commons has been fraught since MPs returned from the prorogation of parliament, which was declared unlawful and therefore null and void by the UK’s Supreme Court earlier this week. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has remained defiant in the face of repeated pleas from fellow MPs to moderate his language, despite being told that his use of phrases ‘surrendering’ and ‘betrayal’ in parliament inflamed division and increased the level of abuse and threats directed at politicians – particularly women and minority ethnic MPs. The Civility in Politics Awards aim to moderate the national conversation by drawing attention to MPs, councillors and members of the devolved parliaments who engage in the political process in good faith, recognise and acknowledge their own errors and show courtesy to their colleagues.

The Civility in Politics Awards are funded by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust, which promotes social justice, open democracy and electoral reform in the UK. The judges and steering committee, which feature representatives from multiple political parties as well as non-political representatives from the public, private and third sectors, are donating their time in kind.

The awards cover three categories:

  • Politician of the Year;
  • Bridge Builder of the Year; and
  • Campaigner of the Year.

The awards will donate £3,000 (€3,374.35) to a charitable body selected by the winning Politician of the Year from their constituency.

Stewart Wood, Baron Wood of Anfield, said: “Everybody agrees that politics in the UK is facing a crisis of trust and a crisis of civility. As divisions and bitterness mount in the continuing debates around Brexit, we strongly believe that politics must respond not by mirroring these trends, but by resisting them. These awards are a small attempt by a group of people in public life – of different and no political persuasions – to shine a spotlight on politicians who argue their case with decency and civility and are able to engage with people across the divides that threaten to scar our country.”

Nominations open for the Civility in Politics Awards this weekend, with the winners to be announced in January 2020.


  1. What most people in this country want is an end to parliamentarians endlessly bringing shame and embarrassment on our once great country on the world stage by treating the parliament as a playground. The current speaker takes every opportunity to exhibit supercilious behaviour, and his chairing of the commons on 25th September was a disgrace, and he must take his share of the blame for the fiasco along with the other losers and time-wasters who we are unfortunate to have as our so-called representatives.

    We should not be awarding prizes to politicians who meet a minimum standard of conduct – what is needed is an enforecable code of conduct with real teeth, which would include prohibiting inciteful language, personal attacks, ‘put-downs’ (including those made by the speaker), insults, shouting, rudeness , singing, waving placards, etc., all of which have been done by Commoners recently. They should be ashamed of themselves. In no other occupation would such disgraceful behaviour escape consequences.


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