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Justice Secretary, Jack Straw, introduced the second reading of the Bribery Bill in the Commons. It passed without a vote and now goes to a Public Bill Committee for further consideration. It has already passed all its stages in the House of Lords.
The Bill provides a modern and comprehensive scheme of bribery offences so prosecutors and courts can deal effectively with bribery in the UK and abroad.
The UK government has been under pressure to reform its bribery laws for a considerable time. Pressure has come from international organisations such as the OECD and non-governmental organisations.
This is not because the UK is seen as an especially corrupt country but because of its poor record in prosecuting offences. Until 2009 there had not been a single case of a British company being convicted of bribery offences.
The current Bill followed consideration of a draft Bill in March 2009. Various changes were made when the Bill was introduced into the Lords in November 2009.
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