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.