The Centre for Welfare Reform, working with a broad alliance of different organisations, is calling for a citizens' convention in order to develop a better constitution for the UK. We have published an open letter calling for change.
Open Letter on Constitutional Reform: A new settlement between people and government is needed. We need a written constitution.
We, the undersigned, work to bring about a better, fairer society. However we have come to see that our efforts are compromised by an economic and political system that serves only the interests of the few.
Every day we see grotesque inequality, poverty wages and rising consumer debt, over-powerful banks and energy companies, a housing crisis, and disregard for environmental standards. Worst of all we see a retreating welfare state that inflicts punitive sanctions on some of our most vulnerable people and communities.
Multiple injustices at home are mirrored by a deeply unethical foreign policy. Rather than promote peace, uphold human rights and democratic norms, our foreign policy is dominated by commercial imperatives which include lucrative arms sales to countries with repressive regimes and abysmal human rights records.
None of these crises can be resolved without reference to basic principles of economic, social and environmental justice and these in turn should not be separate from the legislative principles that guide the work of Parliament.
To make this happen, we need a new settlement between people and government in the form of a written constitution that embeds a comprehensive bill of human rights, including economic, social and environmental rights. It must delimit the power of Parliament by devolving real power to the regions and nations that make up the UK and place local government on an independent legal footing. Only then can ordinary people gain real control over their lives and shape their own future. The people, not Parliament, must be the new sovereign and a written constitution is the means to achieve that.
We therefore call for a Citizens’ Convention on a written constitution as the first step towards this goal.
List of signatories
Dr Simon Duffy, Director of the Centre for Welfare Reform
Doreen Kelly, Director of Beyond Limits
Damian Joseph Bridgeman of Bridgeman Healthcare
Katie Clarke, Director of Bringing Us Together
Dr David Towell of the Centre for Inclusive Futures
Steve Paget MBE Chair & Jane Johnson Chief Executive of disAbility Cornwall and Isles of Scilly
Simon Barrow, Director of Ekklesia
Laird Ryan, vice chair of Faiths4Change
Eri Mountbatten, Fellow Centre for Welfare Reform
Clare Hyde, Director of the Foundation for Families
Liz Leach of Imagineer and the National Brokerage Network
Steve Atherton, co-ordinator of Justice and Peace Network, Liverpool
Bob Rhodes, Director of LivesThroughFriends
Professor Mark Gamsu of Local Democracy and Health
Tim Keilty of New Prospects Association
Caroline Molloy, co-editor of Open Democracy
Pete Richmond CEO of Partners for inclusion
Peter Tatchell of Peter Tatchell Foundation
Deborah Harrington and Jessica Ormerod, Directors of Public Matters
Judith Moran, Director of Quaker Social Action
Paul Feldman of Real Democracy Movement
Will Snell of Tax Justice UK
Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK
Catherine Hale, Project Manager of The Chronic Illness Inclusion Project
Dr Wanda Wyporska, Executive Director of the Equality Trust
Karen Imogen Senior, Director of the People Focused Group
Ed Straw of Treaty for Government
Alexandra Runswick, Director of Unlock Democracy
Cat Hobbs of We Own It
Les Scaife of West Lancs Peer Support Group
Jenny Engledow of Womens International League for Peace and Freedom
Owen Winter of Youth Parliament for Cornwall (ex member)
Klina Jordan, campaigner for proportional representation
Malcolm Ramsay of Local Sovereignty
Jennifer Forbes of Forbes website
Alain Catzeflis, Fellow of the Centre for Welfare Reform
Dr Claudia Gillberg, Senior Research Associate, National Centre for Lifelong Learning
Pat Onions of Pat's Petition
Mo Stewart, independent disability studies researcher
Colin Newton, co-founder of Inclusive Solutions
Phil Groom of 5 Quid for Life
Dr Lynne Friedli, Independent Researcher
Steven Preece, Editor and founder Welfare Weekly
Noreen Blanluet of Co-production Network for Wales
Jayne Linney, Disability Activist
Jamie Stanley, founder of electoral reform campaign group NOTA UK
This campaign will be coordinated by Gavin Barker, a Fellow of the Centre for Welfare Reform.
In the next few weeks we will continue to add the names of people and organisations to this letter whilst also writing to all the main political parties seeking their support.
If you want to add your organisation's name to this letter please contact Gavin Barker directly by email.
You can also join the conversation on Twitter @CitizenReform