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 will come on to some important aspects of the ministerial code later, but I shall deal with the case of the former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions now. My right hon. Friend made a mistake—a technical breach of the ministerial code—and resigned. He paid a heavy price, which is in stark contrast to significant numbers of Conservative Members being paid to ask questions in this House. Not one, but two former Conservative Ministers ended up in prison for their actions, and another Minister from that time had to resign because of detailed allegations about how he sought to block investigations into the cash for questions affair. Yes, my right hon. Friend has paid a heavy price. He made a mistake, but it involved breaching the ministerial code on a technicality, which is a world away from events under previous Conservative Administrations.