Westminster Abbey Institute - Democracy

What is the future of Parliamentary Democracy? What are its roots? What keeps it healthy?

With deference gone, how can trust in those who govern be earned and retained?

How can a voice be given to the voiceless?

Politicians standing for election must seek and retain power but that can have a corrosive effect on moral character and disposition.

How do people seeking election avoid joining the ‘celebritocracy’ or becoming vacillating people pleasers?

Has political language coarsened beyond repair?

Booking (free) is essential for all events.

Priority will be given to public servants.

How To Book

To book for an event, click the Book Now button to send us an e-mail.

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Contact Us

institute@westminster-abbey.org 020 7654 4911


Westminster Abbey Institute
20 Dean's Yard

The One People Oration

The Responsibilities of Democracy

Monday 6th November at 6.30pm
in The Nave, Westminster Abbey

Speaker: Sir John Major

Chair: The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster

The Rt Hon Sir John Major KG CH was Prime Minister from 1990-1997, and served as Foreign Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Thatcher Government.

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Voice to the Voiceless?

Thursday 23rd November at 1.00pm
in Cheyneygates, Westminster Abbey

Speakers: Professor Lord Glasman, Professor Graham Smith

Chair: Claire Foster-Gilbert, Director, Westminster Abbey Institute

Maurice Glasman, Baron Glasman is an academic and Labour life peer in the House of Lords.

Professor Graham Smith is Director of the Centre for the Study of Democracy in the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Westminster.

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Protest and Liberty: How the Reformation Shaped Modern Democracy

Monday 30th October at 6.30pm
in The Lady Chapel, Westminster Abbey

Speaker: Professor Alec Ryrie

Chair: The Reverend Professor Vernon White, Canon Theologian, Westminster Abbey

Professor Alec Ryrie is a historian of Protestant Christianity and Professor at Durham University.

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The Coarsening of Political Language

Monday 13th November at 6.30pm
in The Lady Chapel, Westminster Abbey

Speaker: Rt Hon Nick Clegg

Interlocutor and Chair: Mark Easton

The Rt Hon Nick Clegg was Leader of the Liberal Democrats from 2007-2015, and Deputy Prime Minister in the coalition government from 2010-2015.

Mark Easton is the BBC’s Home Editor. His first book, Britain etc., was published in 2012.

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Please note this event is booked out and a waiting list is in operation.


Politician: Leader or Celebrity?

Please note: This event has been cancelled. There is a three line whip that evening for both Labour and the Conservative parties, as there will be a number of votes on the Budget. Both of our speakers have to be in the Commons Chamber and cannot, therefore, be with us.

Tuesday 28th November at 6.30pm
in The Lady Chapel, Westminster Abbey

Speaker: Rt Hon Harriet Harman QC MP

Interlocutor and Chair: Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP

Rt Hon Harriet Harman QC MP has been a Labour MP since 1982 and is a former Deputy Leader of the party.

Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP is a former Attorney General, and now chairs the Intelligence and Security Select Committee.

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