Independent watchdog needed to combat Ministerial sleaze

September 6, 2006 12:00 AM

Houses of Parliament (Commons) / Westminster Clock Tower (Big Ben)Commenting on the Public Administration Select Committee's Report into the Ministerial Code of Conduct released today, Jenny Willott, Welsh Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central and member of the Committee, said:

"Today's report is extremely important to the integrity of our political system. Politics has suffered too long without a system in place to unearth the truth behind allegations of ministerial sleaze and corruption.

"I strongly urge the Government to listen to today's recommendations and set up an independent ministerial watchdog so that accusations thrown at ministers can be investigated by an impartial body.

"This would, for example, provide a way to test the endless speculation over John Prescott's involvement in supercasino bids.

"In addition, at present, when an MP becomes a Government minister, they are not obliged register all potential conflicts of interest. We all saw the mess this got David Blunkett into. Ministers should be obliged to give all such details as a matter of routine.

"If the Government takes heed of today's report, it will be a first step towards a more open and transparent system to oversee Ministers behaviour."

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