Ministerial Code

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

Alert me about debates like this

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

I am most grateful, Mr. Deputy Speaker. It is so tempting to stray into such matters, but of course they do not fall within the terms of the motion.

I repeat: the standing of Government is important not only to the Government, but to the House and to the body politic as a whole. Some things can and should be done to make the ministerial code better able to police the activities of Ministers. More importantly, we must make sure that the impression is given that Ministers' conduct is of the highest integrity.

The arguments in favour of independent investigation and of making the code clearer about what Ministers must do rather than what they might, should or could do on a wet afternoon seem compelling, to use the term of the moment. I am disappointed that the Minister could not accept that today, but I believe that the House should do so. We should give a very clear signal to the Prime Minister that our patience regarding this matter is running a little thin.