Last week, the government’s use of a parliamentary majority to change the behavior of members of parliament and to help former minister Owen Patterson sparked public outrage.
The government intervened in parliament to prevent Paterson from being convicted of a serious violation of lobbying rules while serving as an independent Standards Commissioner in Parliament.
Ordinary allies, such as the Daily Mail and The Sun, were forced to make a sharp turn within 24 hours in response to condemnation of the move.
Attempts to rewrite the rules of parliament to protect their old allies are wrong and shameful. This caused serious damage to Britain’s reputation and disrespected independent regulators and the rule of law, which discredited politicians.
Paterson’s case should be a turning point in reaching an inter-party agreement on the renewal and renewal of the broken British standard regime as a whole.
Recently, there have been political scandals. During a special meeting with the prime minister and chancellor, the party’s donors argued that they had donated more than £ 250,000 in “cash for entry”.
Then came the “friendship agreement” – the government seems to be running a VIP highway for people with personal relationships with ministers and members of parliament to get a deal in Cove.
We have a scandal involving Greensill’s lobby, where former Prime Minister David Cameron used his status and connections to lobby aggressively on behalf of the infamous financier Lex Greensill.
Boris Johnson was accused of failing to accurately announce the luxury renovation of Building 10, which was paid for by the donor at the party, and his luxury weekend, which he refused to disclose its value.
Finally, reports emerged that the Conservative Party had rewarded its peers with more than £ 3 million in prize money this weekend, raising the issue of “honorary cash prizes”.
The easy access to the services of ministers, peers and former prime ministers is creating a crisis of political justice.
Uncontrolled insults to politicians could exacerbate extremism and violence against members of parliament.
While the rules of conduct for ministers, politicians, and high-ranking government officials are outdated, regulators have not had the power or resources to hold politicians accountable. The current convention-based approach is cracking layers.
To date, these scandals have been the backbone of the government. As long as they lead the vote, they have no reason to do anything about it. Even this weekend, a government minister insisted Paterson’s case was a hurricane in Westminster’s teapot.
To this day, scandals tend to be called democracy, deception, lobbying, or deception. But in the aftermath of Paterson’s case, senior politicians, commentators and public figures have spoken openly about corruption. Something seems to have changed.
Lord Evans, a former intelligence chief and now emperor of ethics, warned last week that “we will become a corrupt country,” while former Prime Minister John Major called the government’s actions “politically corrupt.”
For too long, Britain has denied corruption on its shores and has been too complacent about the risks it poses. What to call recent events is a warning.
These scandals are damaging the trust of politicians and democracy. Politicians should be servants of the people, not in the pockets of the highest paid.
As a result of these scandals, attitudes toward politicians run the risk of being ignored by the public and alienated from politics. If this is not checked, extremism and violence against members of parliament may escalate.
They also corrupt the social structure that unites us: if politicians don’t follow the rules, why should anyone else?
Dominic Cummings (not a stranger to the controversy) once said, “Fish rot from their heads.” Corruption is rampant in society when the rules of conduct are distorted due to the behavior of politicians.
Civil servants need to amend the law to hold them accountable for corruption.
In the end, such scandals seriously undermine Britain’s global reputation as a fair and just country, as well as its ability to stand up to oppression and corruption elsewhere. We need to be very careful not to tarnish our reputation among countries like Hungary, Poland and Brazil.
This week’s public debate on what kind of foreign interests MPs should allow is very welcome. But if we want to stop slipping into corruption, we need more comprehensive and more ambitious reforms.
Here’s what happens next. First, the government needs to quickly and fully implement the recommendations made last week by the Committee on Public Standards, the UK’s highest ethical body, and by Boardman, an independent investigation into the Greensill scandal.
This will give the UK an independent regulator that upholds the standard of fairness, such as an independent advisor to the Minister’s interests and a Business Appointment Advisory Board, with the appropriate position and stronger authority.
This means creating a unified, up-to-date, unified registry of all ongoing lobbies. This means that public appointments are made not on the basis of the minister’s will, but on the basis of a truly independent process and merit.
Second, the government needs to adjust how it appoints House of Lords and other dignitaries. We need to put an end to the immoral idea that prime ministers can appoint their loved ones to the second chamber as a reward for their loyalty and donations.
Third, the government needs to abandon plans to undermine the independence of the Electoral Commission and make party political funding more equitable.
Finally, as proposed by the Legal Committee at the end of last year, it is necessary to amend the law that violates the law, which criminalizes public officials for corruption.
Independent control and balance of power, including genuinely independent guards, is a hallmark of modern, first-class democracy in operation.
It’s time to decide if it really exists in Britain.