Valerie Asks Question on Prime Minister’s Conduct

HM Opposition Day on Tuesday 7 June 2022 was used to debate Standards in Public Life. The Ministerial Code sets out the standards and conduct expected of Ministers, a combination of ethical principles and procedural guidance. If the code is broken, it is conventional that a Minister should resign.

I asked the Minister: “Will he say what the position is if the Prime Minister has broken the law? Does he accept that that is a breach of the ministerial code?”

The Prime Minister’s Fixed Penalty Notice for breaking Covid-19 legislation at his birthday event clearly contravenes the code. The Prime Minister has a record of ignoring the conventions which safeguard our public life. In November 2020 the Prime Minister’s previous Independent Adviser on Ministers’ Interests resigned after the PM ignored his advice on the breaking of the code by the Home Secretary. The Prime Minister has also ignored the advice of his present Adviser that his fine raises “legitimate questions” over a breach of the code. 

On 27 May 2022 the Prime Minister published a new version of the Code which introduces weaker sanctions for breaches as an alternative to resignation, such as docking of wages; and removes references to honesty, integrity, transparency and accountability from the foreword. 

HM Opposition tabled the following motion: “That this House recognises the importance of the Ministerial Code for maintaining high standards in public life; endorses the Committee on Standards in Public Life report entitled Upholding Standards in Public Life, Final report of the Standards Matter 2 review; calls on the Government to implement all of the report’s recommendations as a matter of urgency; and further calls on the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster to make a statement to the House on the progress made in implementing the recommendations by 20 July 2022, and each year subsequently.”

The damage caused by the Prime Minister to the great office of state he holds must be reversed. I voted to support the motion, which was passed, Ayes: 215 and Noes: 0.