“There’s no such thing as an honest politician.”
I hear this statement - or a variation of it - all too often. It really depresses me.
I got into politics because, almost 20 years ago, I saw first hand what a positive impact it can have on people’s lives. I spent a summer interning for an MP and my experience was peppered with instances of making a genuine difference to people in dozens of little ways.
Now, after a career away from politics, I want to become a politician at this most volatile time. As a country and society we’ve become too polarised, too divided. We need more listening, and less shouting. More politicians who build bridges, rather than seeking to burn them down.
A good MP should champion their local area, make positive change, and inspire people. That’s exactly what I want to do for Barrow and Furness.
So, if elected, I will adhere to the Nolan principles of public life*:
Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest.
Holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work. They should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.
Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.
Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.
Holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing.
Holders of public office should be truthful.
Holders of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and be willing to challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs.
What does that mean in practice?
I will never be less than open, transparent and honest with you.
I will publish my diary and expenses and be clear about why I take a particular position.
My office will be open and I will hold regular surgeries across the whole of Barrow & Furness.
I’m not an ideologue. I will be pragmatic and open to new ideas.
I will always fight your corner.
I will publish an annual report each year, letting you know how I’ve got on, and how I intend to improve.
*in my opinion, every MP should do this as a matter of course.