Integrity and Ethics in Parliament?

I would include langauge in the UK Constitution that integrity, ethics, and the removal of all actual and potential conflicts of interests is paramount for maintaining public confidence.  For instance, the Constitution shall include (but not be limited to):

1.  that Parliament shall pass rules regarding MP's revealing all of their and their immediate family members' financial and business interests;  and

2.  that MP's shall abstain from voting on legislation that effects such financial and business interests;

3.  that MP's shall refrain from accepting gifts other than those deemed de minimus (amount to be determined by Parliament);

4.  MP's shall not obtain any type of lobbying job for a period of at least 5 years after leaving their job as MP.

Failure to abide by these rules shall result in censure by the House and/or a fine;  and if the violaton is egregious enough, the MP shall be removed as an MP and pay a fine;  and if the violation is criminal, they shall also be criminally prosecuted.  Regarding option 4 above where the former MP obviously can not be removed because they are already gone, then they shall be subject to a fine and/or it will become a crime in the statute books. 

John Z Apr 6, 2015

As for the above, in addition to the 4 bullet-points provided, are there any more bullet-points anyone would add?  Any of which you would want deleted? 

Mark Cooke Apr 14, 2015

I suggest a provision requiring Parliament to create a Code of Ethics applying to all elected representatives, setting out key principles to be included, but leaving the details to Parliament.

John Z Apr 14, 2015

Do you believe in self-policing?  Or should the Code of Ethics be written and enforced by some other entity?

Mark Cooke Apr 14, 2015

I've no problem with creating a separate enforcement mechanism. And this debate would reinforce it with recall etc

If the key principles are laid down in the constitution I'd be content to have a reformed Parliament approve the detailed rules. I don't think the rules have ever been the problem,  it was the lax attitude to interpretation.

 

John Z Apr 14, 2015

And lax enforcement.

Mark Cooke Apr 15, 2015

Agreed

Saeeda Bukhari Apr 16, 2015

I like the above idea a great deal. However I would extend this beyond business and financial interests. I would like to have memberships and lobby contact declared. As well as close friendship or family connection to somebody else that is a lobbyist corporate or ideological.

This does not mean they won't get the job, it just means that people will be able to see when they slant towards their networks above their constituents.

John Z Apr 16, 2015

Agreed.  But if the relative of the MP has a different family name than the MP, then it is on the honour code that the MP disclose it.  This makes the need of a sanction/fine/prison even more important so to enforce these provisions. 

John Z Apr 17, 2015

How is this:

"Parliament shall pass a Code of Ethics that shall include:

1.  that Parliament shall pass rules regarding Members of Parliament revealing all of their and their immediate family members' financial and business interests;  and

2.  that Members of Parliament  shall abstain from voting on legislation that effects such financial and business interests;  and

3.  that Members of Parliament shall refrain from accepting gifts other than those deemed de minimus (amount to be determined by Parliament);  and

4.  that Members of Parliament shall not obtain any type of lobbying job for a period of at least 5 years after leaving their job.  

The Code of Ethics shall also state that a failure to abide by these rules shall result in censure, fine, removal, or criminal punishment, with the details to be legislated by Parliament".  

Saeeda Bukhari Apr 17, 2015

That members will seek to reflect the views of their constituents and no other. If found to be representing any other they could be penalised.

The above would not prevent the lobbyists, embedded politicians that represent other countries for ideological or faith reasons. Or war lobbyists like the neo-conservatives, originating from political think tanks.

Mark Cooke Apr 18, 2015

We need to refine the wording a bit, but the key thing is to lay down principles,  rather than try to write too specific a set of rules.

Share