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Wed, 27 May 2020

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EXCL Public complaints about MPs set to double this year, figures show

EXCL Public complaints about MPs set to double this year, figures show
2 min read

Complaints against MPs from members of the public are on track to more than double this year, official figures indicate.

The number of grievances handed in to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards - which oversees the code of conduct for all MPs - is already more than twice the number received by the office in 2017/18 with the figures for March still to be released. 

Currently 2,165 claims that MPs have breached the code have been sent to the watchdog this year - with 1,292 complaints flagged in July 2018 alone.

This compares to a total 889 submissions alleging MPs broke the rules throughout the whole of 2017/18, and 627 in the previous year. This year's number of complaints is the highest since comparable records began in 2013.

As part of her role, Standards Commissioner Kathryn Stone investigates allegations that MPs have broken the code of conduct which sets out the standards of behaviour they must adhere to when doing their jobs.

They include rules on declaring financial interests, bribery, and any action "which would cause significant damage to the reputation and integrity of the House of Commons".

Of this year's record 2,165 complaints, the vast majority - 2,156 - were not accepted by the watchdog for further investigation.

The figures show that 774 of those were outside of the Commisioner's remit while 1,312 allegations were deemed "not a breach". Others were deemed to be unsubstantiated or more appropriately dealt with by another body.

A Westminster source told PoliticsHome that this year's rise in complaints could be down to single issues being flagged with the public on social media, prompting a flood of emails to the commissioner's office.

The latest figures have already topped the previous record for complaints raised with the Commissioner, previously held by 2015-16 where 1,174 concerns were raised by members of the public.

The full report from the Commissioner is due to be published later this year.

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