Ministerial Code

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:35 pm on 26th April 2021.

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Photo of Bernard Jenkin Bernard Jenkin Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons) 3:35 pm, 26th April 2021

I commend a great deal of what my right hon. Friend just said, but let us face it: there is not a great deal of public confidence in propriety and ethics in politics in this country, and that is to be laid at the door of all political parties over a long period. What would begin to restore public confidence in such matters is more genuine discussion of principles and values and how conflicts of interests should be better managed, and to have rather less quibbling about whether we are inside or outside certain rules. I feel that accusations should perhaps be less blaming as well.

I commend to my right hon. Friend the letter sent by the chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life to the Prime Minister last week. It recommended a number of changes to the role—that the chair should be able to initiate his or her own inquiries and to publish a summary of the findings—that the

“Prime Minister should retain the right to decide on any sanction following a breach of the Code” and that it is “disproportionate” for the Prime Minister always to require a resignation for a breach of the code. The Prime Minister should be able to use a range of sanctions to deal with breaches of the code. Will the Government accept those recommendations?