Ministerial Code

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:50 pm on 15th November 2005.

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Photo of David Heath David Heath Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, Shadow Spokesperson (Cabinet Office) 8:50 pm, 15th November 2005

Perhaps we ought not to consider that issue at the moment.

When resignations occur, it is very important that the proprieties are not only respected, but seen clearly to be respected, by Ministers on leaving office. There have been several instances of repeat ministerial resignations; indeed, I am reminded of the programmes that seem to appear on satellite television every couple of days, with titles along the lines of "Britain's Funniest Ministerial Resignations". We need to police this issue very carefully if we are to maintain the general public's respect for the body politic as a whole.

The trouble is that this is not the only issue that is in danger of souring the position of us all, frankly, and of the democratic system. Mention was made earlier of David Lloyd George's appointing major Liberal party donors to the House of Lords. He had complete contempt for the Lords, which is why he used that method, but the Lords has now changed. It is now primarily an appointed House, so it is even more important that those appointed to it are not tinged with any suspicion that the main reason for their appointment is their having donated large sums to one or other of the parties. However, there is more than a suspicion that some Members of the Lords are being appointed for precisely that reason.