Backbench Business - Whistleblowingbackbench Business

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:16 pm on 3rd July 2019.

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Photo of Stephen Kerr Stephen Kerr Conservative, Stirling 5:16 pm, 3rd July 2019

I declare an interest as co-chair of the all-party parliamentary group on whistleblowing. I was very impressed by the speech of Norman Lamb. It was a compelling and comprehensive argument for the law to be reviewed. It is vital that we keep whistleblowing laws and protections, and public interest disclosure laws, up to date and relevant in an ever-changing, fast-moving landscape. I hope that the Minister will listen carefully to the arguments presented—the motion gives a strong case to be answered—and give a considered response. I know well that she is extremely conscientious in performing her duties as a Minister of the Crown.

I was hugely impressed, as ever, with the speech of my hon. Friend Kevin Hollinrake. Since becoming a Member of Parliament, I have had to look more closely at the performance of regulators, and what surprises me is how thoroughly inadequate most regulators in this country are at regulating what they are supposed to regulate. It is all too clear that there is, at times, an unholy relationship between the people who staff the regulator and the industry that they are supposed to regulate, and that stifles the tension that there has to be between a regulator and the sector or industry being regulated.

The APPG plans to publish a report shortly identifying how the law fails to protect whistleblowers of any type—I stress “of any type”. The APPG has consulted a whole range of groups, and has positive, effective and practical proposals for change. We hope to learn from other countries as we aim for a “best in class” legal framework. I believe this is one of the aspects of competitive advantage that we should be claiming for the United Kingdom, in terms of our economy and how we treat those who, in most cases, feel driven by conscience to speak up, to raise concerns and to do the right thing for the right reasons.