Welcome fall in complaints against MPs
The number of complaints against MPs falling within the scope of the Parliamentary Code of Conduct dropped from 42 to 23 in 2005-06, according to the Annual Report of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, Sir Philip Mawer, published today. Commenting on the fall, Sir Philip said:
"At a time when there is understandable concern about alleged 'sleaze' in other aspects of public life, it is good that, on this evidence, the trend in the Commons is in the right direction."
In his report, Sir Philip points to a number of developments over the past year which have further strengthened Parliament's standards machinery, including the approval in July 2005, following consultation, of an updated Code of Conduct. A follow-up review of the Rules on registering and declaring interests is now underway. Extensive briefing on standards matters was also arranged for Members following the General Election last year.
Whilst warning against complacency, Sir Philip notes that 2005 saw the tenth anniversary of the establishment of the Parliamentary standards arrangements of which his office forms part.
"Over the past 10 years, those arrangements have gradually been strengthened to the point where, I believe, they can fairly be said to provide a robust and impartial means of investigating complaints and seeking to prevent wrong-doing. . . As the independent Committee on Standards in Public Life has confirmed, standards of conduct in the House of Commons are generally high, and, I would add, bear favourable comparison with those in many other countries."
Note to Editors
The Commissioner will be available on 020 7219 0311 between 4.00pm and 6.30pm on Monday, 24 July to answer questions about his report.