Encouraging, rewarding and celebrating thoughtful, reflective public debate.

30 years ago, George Bush Snr called for a kinder, gentler politics in America. More recently, a British politician from the other end of the spectrum, Jeremy Corbyn, re-used the phrase.

Yet the behaviour of politicians often falls short of this ideal.

Four years of divisive Brexit campaigning has supercharged divisions among both politicians and the public. Many hoped that one effect of COVID-19 might be to unite the country. But there is little sign of it, with disagreements over the Government's handling of the pandemic, notably lockdown and relaxation rules, reinforcing divides.

This febrile political atmosphere, evidenced daily through threats to journalists, MPs and activists, is likely to act as a further disincentive for people to become involved in politics or to vote.

A group of us has come together to encourage, reward and celebrate thoughtful, reflective public debate that reaches across the aisle and seeks to improve our civil discourse.

There are three award categories:

  • Politician of the Year
  • Co-operation of the Year
  • Influencer of the Year

A £3000 prize will be donated to a charity nominated by the winning Politician of the Year.


Steering Group


The nomination window for the 2019 Awards has now closed. Entry to the 2020 Awards opens in November 2020. Watch our 2020 Awards teaser below and sign up to our mailing list for updates.


Q. What award categories are there?

A. There are three award categories:

  • Politician of the Year (open to people who hold elected office)
  • Co-operation of the Year (open to two or more people who have worked across divides)
  • Influencer of the Year (open to organisations and people who are not elected)
If you aren’t sure which category someone fits into, don’t worry. Pick the one you think fits best, and we will reallocate them if needed.

Q. What are the criteria to decide who wins?

A. A range of criteria will help us decide who wins, but good entries will demonstrate:

  • engagement in the political process to find areas of agreement
  • willingness to admit to, and apologise for, past and current failures and mistakes
  • openness to changing their minds and explaining why
  • commitment to reconciliation and bridging divides
  • engagement in politics with courtesy, good humour and kindness.

Q. Who can nominate you, and how do you enter? 

You complete the entry form. People can self nominate or be nominated by others. Should a vital name be missed out, the judges reserve the option to put an extra name into the ring.

We are looking for people who, more often than not, help our democracy function more effectively.

Q. Is there a prize?

A. The winning Politician of the Year will be able be able to nominate and award £3,000 to a charity of their choice. If the winner is an MP, we expect this to be a charity in their constituency. We hope that the chosen organisation will communicate that they received these unrestricted funds thanks to their representatives’ civil behaviour.

Q. Is this open to people outside Westminster?

A. Absolutely! We’re hoping to hear from people and organisations across the UK. That includes those in devolved institutions and local councillors. The non-elected influencer of the year is open to individuals and organisations. We believe they have an important role to play and want their efforts to be recognised too.

Q. Will there be an awards ceremony?

A. The 2019 Award winners will be announced in July 2020 but due to the COVID-19 situation, there won't be a physical awards ceremony at this time. We hope to do this at an event in November 2020, when we will also open nominations for the 2020 awards.

Q. What if there is a General Election?

A. We recognise a General Election may effect some of the timings on this – but that isn’t a reason to delay entering if you know someone who is doing work worthy of recognition.

Q. How can we keep up to date with what is happening?

A. Easy – sign up for our email updates! We will send subscribers news about the awards and update this website at the same time.

Q. I’m from the press – how do I get in contact with you?

A. You can send us a message on the contact us page, or drop us an email on

Q. What if I want to nominate someone who is a judge?

A. Go ahead! Judges aren’t able to vote for themselves though.

Q. If someone is the leader of a major party or candidate for a leadership contest can they win?

A. After a bit of thought, the judges opted not to include the leaders of major parties at Westminster or candidates for leadership election. In the 2019 Awards, a small number of nominations from several parties were discounted due to this.

Q. How is this being paid for?

A. The Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust is supporting the awards. All judges (including the Steering Group members) are giving their time in kind.

Q. How do I find out more?

A. If you want to find out more about the awards, please contact us.