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Introducing My Elected Representatives (Codes of Conduct) Bill

Today I will be introducing my Private Members’ Bill on the Elected Representatives (Codes of Conduct). This Bill puts the Ministerial and Members’ Codes of Conduct onto a statutory footing, as well as introducing a national, statutory Code of Conduct for local councillors.

This Bill will, for the first time in our 400 plus year old democracy, make the Ministerial Code statutory, with a fully independent office of a new Commissioner for Ministerial Standards, protected by statute, and a new Ethics Commission. In addition, the Bill establishes the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner’s office which currently oversees the Code of Conduct of MPs, as a statutory office.

At a time when only 1 in 3 people say that they trust the Government and 2 in 3 think politicians are just ‘out for themselves’, the recent scandals on PPE contracts, parties during lockdown and lobbying on behalf of Greensill capital, make it clear that the Prime Minister remaining arbiter of the Ministerial code is unacceptable.

I believe, most people from all political parties get into politics for the right reasons: to make a positive difference for their communities and the people they represent. Unfortunately, there are a tiny minority who use their position for their own purposes and who don’t seem to think that the rules apply to them.

By putting the Ministerial and MPs codes of conduct on a statutory footing, overseen by fully independent Ministerial and Parliamentary Standards Commissioners, protected as statutory offices, my Bill seeks to prevent the scandals we have seen in the past and to hold those individuals who break the rules, to account.

I recognise my Bill is only one small step in what needs to happen to restore public confidence in politics. I hope the Government – who have the gift to adopt my Bill into law – recognise the serious malaise in our democracy and agree to the measures in my Bill.

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