We believe that the UK should be a truly democratic country, where the state is properly accountable to its citizens. In the short term, this means improving the existing system in various ways, such as by improving the electoral system, changing how parties are funded, curbing the influence of the lobbying industry, and replacing the House of Lords with an elected chamber. In the long term, we believe that the UK should be a secular republic rather than a monarchy, and that at some point in the future technology will allow us to make decisions using some form of direct democracy rather than needing to elect representatives.
The British constitution should be collected into a single written document that defines and regulates the powers of the British government, and the rights and duties of its citizens[^1].
The constitution could either be created by a citizens' panel, with approval and adoption subject to a referendum, or created as a "blank slate", with every addition done as an amendment by Parliament with a super-majority vote (e.g. 75% in favour).
Limit all donations and loans to political parties to a maximum of £5,000 from individuals who appear on the electoral register.
Only individual's appearing on the electoral register are able to fund political parties and each individual is absolutely limited to transfer a maximum of £5,000 in any calendar year. This is the total amount that may be transferred and includes every type of financial activity in addition to straight forward donations.
Constituency offices of MPs, which quite rightly are publicly funded, should be solely for the use of casework officers, diary assistants etc to assist the MP in dealing with constituency issues. They should not be used for campaigning purposes or for locating agents, campaign managers, or other party officials, and thereby giving a publicy funded electoral advantage to incumbents over challengers.
Require all MPs to retrospectively publish their diaries on a daily basis as open data.
Publish full minutes (or transcripts if available), audio recordings, and voting records from all local council meetings. Online publication should be performed within 24 hours. Software tools will be created to make this process simple.
A local accountability service will be provided online to show, for each local authority;
To improve the ability of citizens to hold politicians to account for the promises they make, the National Archives' remit for creating an archive of Government publications will be extended to political campaign material produced by political parties. This will primarily be done by collecting copies of all material distributed by Royal Mail as part of election campaigns. Political party manifestos will also be archived by the National Archives.
We want to establish a single, comprehensive and mandatory statutory register of political lobbyists. This will replace the four voluntary options currently available to lobbyists. This register must contain all paid lobbyists and it must give us meaningful information on what lobbyists are up to, including who is lobbying for who, which agency of government are being lobbied, and broadly what lobbyists are aiming to influence.[^2]
To dampen the influence of the City of London in the legislative process, we will remove the City Remembrancer from the floor of the House of Commons and end the Remembrancer's privileges to view legislation during the drafting process. Although granting these permissions is under the control of the Speaker, legislation should be enacted to ban the Remembrancer from resuming these permissions.
We support the principle of subsidiarity, in the general sense that decisions should be devolved to the most local organisational level capable of effectively handling the issue.
Our current view is that: a) We should consider devolving legislative powers currently enjoyed by the Scottish Parliament to equivalent devolved Parliaments in regions across England, Wales and (eventually) Northern Ireland. b) The UK Parliament to retain control over macro-economic, foreign, and defence policy. c) To ensure resources continue to be redistributed from each region according to their ability to pay, to each region according to their need (as is currently the case) all current taxes set by Westminster would become 'Federal Taxes' and distributed as appropriate, and each regional Parliament should have the power to establish top-up 'Regional Taxes' either on income, VAT, capital gains or however they see fit, and to keep any revenue generated. Those wishing to attract investment may choose not to levy any regional taxes at all, or keep them lower relative to their neighbour.
In the case that a local area is unable to deal with any issue effectively, there shall be an escalation path available to ensure that the issue can be decided at the next broader level.
We believe in replacing the House of Lords with a more representative chamber. However, there are immediate reforms required and so while we will work to replace the House of Lords, we will apply incremental reform to the Lords before hand to improve our democracy in the meantime. These reforms are outline below, in the order in which we'll hope to implement them.
Upon entering Government we will immediately end all new appointments to the House of Lords, swiftly ending the undemocratic procedure.
The "upper house" - as it is known - should not contain more Lords than MPs. We will place a cap on Lords of 650, and seek to remove those Lords with the lowest attendance in order to drop the current levels down to match the House of Commons.
The House of Lords will be replaced with a chamber made up of randomly-selected citizens tasked with reviewing and amending legislation created by the House of Commons.
Citizens are selected from the electoral roll and serve a single fixed-length term. A subset of the chamber is changed each year. Leave from work is legally protected, and help back to work included in the cost.
MP salaries should be linked to other public sector wages, and should rise and fall with them. We propose that this should be set as a multiple of the median public sector wage. If current wage levels are taken as a starting point, the multiplier would be roughly 2.5, but the precise figure should be decided by an independent panel of citizens when the legislation is prepared. Other salaries (for instance, for ministers) would also be linked to public sector wages in the same way.
Serving MPs should not hold second jobs unless they can show that there is no conflict with their role as MP, both in terms of time required and conflict of interest. This includes directorships and advisory posts.
All persons holding elected public office will be barred from standing as a candidate in any election other than for re-election to the same post. An exclusion will apply to holding parish and district-level councillor positions simultaneously.
Allowed expenses would be reduced to only those costs incurred as part of their job; for instance, travel and accomodation.
Second home allowances will be scrapped, and MPs will instead have accommodation provided through parliament. This could be in dedicated accommodation, existing hotels, or long-term leases as appropriate. All MPs would be treated equally under this system.
In the UK, our executive branch (the government) is made up of members of the legislative branch (the Commons and Lords). Ideally, they would be separated.
The executive should be appointed by the legislature, on an annual basis. Ministers could then be selected from all walks of life for their expertise in subject areas, management, or other desirable skills.
Abolish the City Minister position, ending the privileged position of the City of London to influence policy at the expense of the wider public.
Fully include of the monarchy within the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), so that the royal household is legally obliged to respond to information requests[^3].
Repeal existing exemptions from the FOIA that allow communications between other government bodies and the members of the royal family to be kept secret.
Adopt full disclosure of royal lobbying and influence, including disclosure of meetings between members of the royal family and ministers.
The City of London Corporation is an effrontery to modern democracy and it embodies all that is wrong with British society. We demand immediate wide-reaching reform of the City and its institutions.
Our foremost aim is to abolish the City of London Corporation and replace it with a City of London Council.
We will repeal Clause 13 of the Magna Carta, which serves only to reinforce the unfair privileges of the City of London.
We will extend the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to include the entirety of the City of London Corporation's assets.
To reduce the democratic deficit within the City, we will abolish the business vote in all City of London elections, allowing the residents of the City to decide their own future.
We will retain the role of Lord Mayor of London but only as a ceremonial figurehead of the City of London Council.
We will dissolve the City of London Police and bring the role of policing the City under the Metropolitan Police's remit.
Introduce legislation setting out the line of succession for the Prime Minister in the unlikely but possible event that they are incapacitated and unable to govern, in a similar style to that of the Presidential Line of Succession in the United States. We could, for instance, introduce a variation on the Prime Minister (Replacement) Bill.
To become a truly democratic country, the UK should become a republic. As a long-term goal, the monarchy would be replaced with an elected President who will act as Head of State. We recommend the model proposed by Republic.
The President would be mainly a ceremonial position, and should be apolitical and not affiliated to any party. The Prime Minster would remain as Head of Government, and would be appointed by the President after a General Election, as is the case with the Queen now. The President will not be involved in the legislative process.
Presidential terms of office will be fixed at five years, with a maximum of two terms to be served by an individual.
The President will be equal before the law, and will not be protected by Sovereign Immunity. The President will not be constitutionally linked to any faith.