Ministerial Code

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:19 pm on 15th November 2005.

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Photo of Jim Murphy Jim Murphy Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Cabinet Office) 8:19 pm, 15th November 2005

I beg to move, To leave out from "House" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof:

"acknowledges that, amongst other measures, this Government introduced a requirement for individual Ministers, on appointment to each new office, to provide their Permanent Secretary with a full list in writing of all interests which might be thought to give rise to a conflict;
welcomes the section of the Ministerial Code on handling Ministers' private interests which is more comprehensive than Questions of Procedure for Ministers;
and recognises that this Government has agreed to appoint an independent adviser to provide Permanent Secretaries and Ministers with an additional source of professional advice as required and will make an announcement on this shortly.".

Chris Grayling began by saying that he would not rake over recent events, before he raked over every recent insinuation. The good thing about debating with him is that he always gives notice in a rather polite way of the points that he is about to make through the pages of the Daily Mail. He is often tempted to behave like a Daily Mail copywriter, and he always succumbs to that temptation.

It is important to put the debate about standards, openness and the ministerial code in context. We have always made it clear that the public should expect the highest standards of propriety in public life, and this Government have introduced transparency, which did not exist under previous Conservative Administrations. That transparency relates to Ministers, special advisers, Parliament and the public.

We were the first to publish a ministerial code and the annual list of gifts to Ministers, which was strongly opposed by the previous Government, for whatever reason.