Government responds to the e-petition against corruption

Mike here critiques the government’s response to his e-petition, which demanded that MPs with a vested interest in a particular industry or field should be banned from voting on it. Mike here notes that their reply came just before Christmas, when most people are busy preparing for the holiday festival. This is definitely not coincidental. Governments of all colours tend to put matters that are particularly controversial at times when the public is likely to be distracted with something else. New Labour did it, and the Coalition are doing it now. As for the government’s reply to this particular request, it essentially takes the form of two excuses: that’s it’s basically too difficult to police, and that it’s already covered by their Transparency and Lobbying Bill. Mike here thoroughly refutes both of these assertions, and notes that the last was attacked as one of the worst pieces of legislation ever put before parliament.

Mike Sivier's blog


What interesting timing.

The government has a duty to make some kind of response if an e-petition on its website passes 10,000 signatures. My own e-petition – ‘Ban MPs from voting on matters in which they have a financial interest’ – passed that point several weeks ago, but it is only now – right before Christmas, when people have many other matters on their minds – that it has been graced with a response.

And what a weak response it is!

The petition calls on the government to legislate against MPs speaking or voting in debates on matters which could lead to them, companies connected with them or donors to their political party gaining money.

The response runs as follows: “The participation of Members of Parliament in debates and votes are a matter for the rules of each House rather than for legislation.” How interesting. Every other level of government…

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