Watch, listen to and read transcripts of past Westminster Abbey Institute lectures.

Truth, 2018

Truth is a divine attribute and aspiration like beauty and goodness.

In the world of public service, trustworthiness, dependability, wise decision-making and solid relationships all depend upon truth.

Is it in shorter supply than it used to be? How can it be recognised and where can it be reliably found?

Is it justified for politicians to tell lies in order to do good, or does that lastingly undermine the public’s faith in political leadership? Is there such a thing as diplomatic truth?


The Charles Gore Lecture 2018: Truth and Beauty - Professor Janet Soskice and The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster

Truth Pursued - The Reverend Professor Vernon White and Mark Easton, BBC Home Editor

Truth Sustained - Sir Stephen Lamport and Lord Saatchi

Truth Told - Claire Foster-Gilbert and Lord Judge

Democracy, 2017

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?


Protest and Liberty: How the Reformation Shaped Modern Democracy - Professor Alec Ryrie, Durham University, and The Reverend Professor Vernon White, Canon Theologian, Westminster Abbey

The One People Oration 2017: The Responsibilities of Democracy - Sir John Major, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 1990-1997, and The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster

The Coarsening of Political Language - Rt Hon Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister 2010-2015, and Mark Easton, BBC Home Editor


Integrity, 2017

What does it mean for a public servant to have integrity? Is it the same as being consistent? What if events demand a change of mind, policy or law? Does working with and for others support integrity or corrode it? Is the creation of a public persona a failure of integrity or a way of protecting the personal self? Can institutions have integrity? Can the sustain important values when individuals lose sight of them? What of the people whom public servants serve: how can the public’s integrity be understood and respected?


Integrity and the Individual: Keeping Conscience Alive - The Reverend Professor Vernon White, Canon Theologian of Westminster, and Baroness D'Souza

Serving the Public: Mission Impossible? - The Reverend Jane Sinclair, Rector, St Margaret’s Church, Westminster Abbey, and the Rt Hon Jack Straw

Westminster Abbey Institute - Public Service Institutions: Custodians or Stiflers of Spirit? - Claire Foster-Gilbert, Director, Westminster Abbey Institute, and Clare Moriarty, Permanent Secretary, Defra


In the Public Eye, 2016

The media make people and events public. Love it or loathe it, people in public life have to live with it. Press freedom is essential to democracy, but freedom demands responsibility.


Press Freedom; Press Responsibility - Dame Ann Leslie, Columnist for the Daily Mail, and Nick Robinson, Today presenter, BBC, in conversation with Baroness D'Souza

Crowd-Sourcing Opinion - Professor Charles Beckett, Director of Polis, LSE and Barbara Speed, Comment Editor, The I, in conversation with Mark Easton, Home Editor, BBC

How Impartial? - Professor Jean Seaton, Professor of Media History and the Official Historian of the BBC, and Gary Gibbon, Political Editor, Channel 4 News, in conversation with Lord Neuberger, President of the Supreme Court


Staying Power, Spring 2016

Staying Power offered seminars, dialogues and lectures to the Abbey's neighbours on Parliament Square and beyond, as a rich and nourishing resource for the public life and service.


Dr Mary McAleese, former President of the Republic of Ireland, discusses building peace in divided communities with the Dean of Westminster

Watch the Reverend Professor Vernon White's Westminster Lecture: Benedictine Virtues in Public Life: Stability.

Watch the Venerable Andrew Tremlett's Westminster Lecture: Benedictine Virtues in Public Life: Community below.

Watch Claire Foster-Gilbert's Westminster Lecture: Benedictine Virtues in Public Life: Conversion of Manners below.

In Power?, Autumn 2015


Stand and Be Counted, 2014

Stand and Be Counted offered lectures and symposia for all those concerned with the health of Politics.

Canon Vernon White's lecture series explored "Idealism and Compromise in Public Service: When the eye sees further than the hand can reach."


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