The sealing of Magna Carta at Runnymede 800 years ago was one of the first steps towards democracy and the rule of law in the UK. Its story has inspired far beyond the UK’s borders; the principles it enshrines – equality before the law, limits to the arbitrary exercise of power, due and fair process for citizens – are more relevant today than ever before.
Speaking at the official ceremony at Runnymede, in his own constituency, the Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, said:
I am immensely proud to be taking part in these celebrations, both as Foreign Secretary and MP for Runnymede. This is Great Britain at its best, showcasing the traditions and values underpinning the modern, outward looking democracy that supports our dynamic economy.
Magna Carta is a symbol of the UK’s deeply rooted democracy: a story of evolution rather than revolution; of patient embedding of the principles and institutions that support successful societies. We are proud to be sharing our experience with others making their own journey to democracy. The UK will continue to defend the values of the rules-based international system which can trace its origins to this landmark document.