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Politest politicians could win £3,000

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn

Politicians who “behave with courtesy” could win £3,000 for a charity of their choice under a new prize scheme aimed at encouraging better manners.

The announcement of the Civility in Politics awards comes at the end of a week of heated, sometimes personal, debate at Westminster.

One of the organisers, Labour’s Lord Stewart, said it would “shine a light” on more pleasant behaviour.

He also called for a reduction in “divisions and bitterness”.

On Friday, former Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd accused Downing Street of using language that “does incite violence”.

But Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he “deplores” any threats to politicians

His adviser, Dominic Cummings, said on Thursday that Parliament’s failure to complete Brexit meant it was “not surprising” that people were angry with MPs.

Announcing the new award, Lord Stewart said: “Everyone agrees that politics in the UK is facing a crisis of trust and a crisis of civility.

“As divisions and bitterness mount in the continuing debates around Brexit, we strongly believe that politics has to respond not by mirroring these trends, but by bucking them.”

He added: “These awards are a small attempt by a group of people in public life – of different and no political persuasions – to shine a spotlight on politicians who argue their case with decency and civility, and are able to engage and work with people across the divides that affect us all”.

Awards will go to “politician of the year”, “bridge-builder of the year” and “campaigner of the year”.

Nominations will open on 28 September and a shortlist will be announced in January followed by an award ceremony in March.

Judges of the awards include journalists Michael Crick and Isabel Hardman, SNP MP Stephen Gethins, Lib Dem MP Sir Norman Lamb, Brexit Party communications director Gawain Towler and ex-Conservative minister Lord Willetts.

The awards are sponsored by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust.

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