Ministerial Code

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:46 pm on 15th November 2005.

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Photo of Jim Murphy Jim Murphy Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Cabinet Office) 9:46 pm, 15th November 2005

In the hon. Gentleman's winding-up speech, he argued for something that was not even in the motion and had to be clarified from the Labour Back Benches. It is a short motion but he managed to fail to understand what it demanded. He made up a whole speech on an entirely different matter, which did not appear in the motion.

Opposition Members mentioned complacency, but only six Opposition Back Benchers were present this evening. That does not suggest great demand to discuss—or difficulty with—issues of propriety and public service. However, the idea that there is complacency about those matters is wide of the mark. We are clearing up many of the issues that the Conservatives left unresolved in the 1990s. We are the first Government to publish the ministerial code, introduce a Freedom of Information Act and clean up party political funding. It is clear that those measures have helped to increase public trust in politics and will continue to do that.

Earlier, my hon. Friend Mr. Kemp asked whether the Opposition would abide by some of rules and regulations that they understandably expect Ministers to obey. Mr. Heald was silent on the matter. Will he confirm that all members of the shadow Cabinet will voluntarily or collectively adhere to a similar set of principles to those by which Ministers are expected to abide?