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Our strengthened Code of Conduct will help build public trust in Parliament

The Elizabeth Tower in Westminster (Alamy)

2 min read

Today, the new Code of Conduct which governs MPs’ behaviour comes into force. The reforms we have made to it will strengthen and clarify rules on lobbying and shield Parliament from undue external influence.  

The government is firmly of the belief that an MP's primary job must be to serve their constituents and represent their interests in Parliament. External interests or alternative employment cannot and should not cloud that. 

A high standards environment is the best way to restore trust in our politics and today’s changes solidify that. 

I hope that this refreshed code will help Parliament to earn and retain the respect of the country

We’ve already supported clarification to ensure that the ban on paid for advocacy and lobbying is strengthened but recognise the need to go further and for parliamentary rules to continually evolve. 

That’s why we have backed new measures which will prevent MPs from providing paid parliamentary advice in roles including as a strategist, adviser or consultant. That means they won’t be able to use their elected position to guide an external employer on ways to navigate Parliament. 

This important step will safeguard parliamentary processes and make sure they are not sidestepped or subject to dangerous or improper influence.  

This strengthening of the code will also emphasise the duty of MPs to serve their constituents and represent their interests in Parliament and it will streamline the process for investigating conduct matters.

These modernisations are an important pillar of my work as Leader of the House of Commons. Building trust in our institutions and encouraging people to take a sustained and energetic role in the political process is crucial to our democracy’s overall health. 

Each and every MP must act with integrity and professionalism. It is both an individual and collective responsibility to safeguard Parliament’s reputation by upholding its principles and abiding by its rules. Importantly, these reforms are the product of consensus. They have been shaped by the careful work of the cross-party Standards Committee and endorsed by the whole House. I believe that will make them stronger. 

Constituents have the right to expect their representatives to put their priorities first. 

I hope that this refreshed code will help Parliament to earn and retain the respect of the country. 

The rules that govern this institution should always be fit for the times and meet public expectations. An honest, focused and efficient Parliament will be the best vehicle with which to scrutinise the body of legislation we seek to progress to improve people’s lives.

 

Penny Mordaunt, Conservative MP for Portsmouth North and Leader of the House of Commons.

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