The Bell Principles

The Bell Principles are the first code of conduct for elected representatives - they demand that politicians behave to the highest of standards. The Independent Network asks that all endorsed candidates and supporters agree to these principles.

They were first formulated by the former independent MP Martin Bell and were presented to the IN at a strategy meeting in September 2009. They were unanimously adopted by supporters of the IN and were later edited by members of the IN Executive.

They are seen as a living document and will be continuously edited to reflect the changing world we live in. If you have any comments regarding the Bell Principles, please send them to:


We will

  • abide wholeheartedly by the spirit and letter of the Seven Principles of Public Life set out by Lord Nolan in 1995: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership
  • be guided by considered evidence, our real world experience and expertise, our constituencies and our consciences
  • be free from the control of any political party, pressure group or whip
  • be non-discriminatory, ethical and committed to pluralism.
  • make decisions transparently and openly at every stage and level of the political process, enabling people to see how decisions are made and the evidence on which they are based
  • listen, consulting our communities constantly and innovatively
  • treat political opponents with courtesy and respect, challenging them when we believe they are wrong, and agreeing with them when we believe they are right
  • resist abuses of power and patronage and promote democracy at every level
  • work with other elected independents as a Group with a chosen spokesperson
  • claim expenses, salaries and compensation openly so the public can judge the value for money of our activities.
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