Pressure group sets out ethical agenda for MPs

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All general election candidates are to be challenged to sign a declaration committing themselves to a politics of service rather than self-interest.

The People's Trust, a new pressure group to promote an ethical social agenda, has devised the declaration, which includes a commitment to elect- oral reform and a renunciation of paid consultancies.

It is to mail two million members of the public over the next week asking them to join its "campaign against political corruption". The People's Trust, a non-party political initiative is backed with a pounds 1m donation from Mohamed al Fayed, the owner of Harrods.

Christopher Graffius, the trust's director, said: "Politics has become a conspiracy to secure power rather than a means of public service. We want to offer hope and an opportunity to make a difference to all those who have been alienated by our corrupted political system."

Candidates will be asked to sign up to serving their constituents and country according to conscience and not to party whips. They will also be asked to "listen to the concerns of my constituents about the need to give far greater priority in all government policies to family and community".

The declaration supports electoral reform "to ensure that every vote cast in an election is of equal value and that Britain's voters are empowered with the maximum choice in future elections".

In a Gallup poll earlier this month, 67 per cent of people said they believed the Government was dishonest and 61 per cent that a future Labour government would be dishonest.

Yesterday, Mo Mowlam, Labour's Northern Ireland spokeswoman refused to sign, although her Labour colleague Ken Livingstone and Liberal Democrat Liz Lynne did.

The information is being sent to people who have expressed an interest in politics, but anyone can receive details by calling freephone 0500 330340.