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18 March 2007

How EU practices have spread to Westminster

The Sunday Times, here, has a fascinating report on standards in politics written after an interview with the ex- head of parliament's standards watchdog, which closes as follows:

Graham, who was speaking to The Sunday Times in a personal capacity, said: “My overriding priority is to safeguard the role of the committee on standards in public life. One of the central political issues which is going to dominate political life up to the next election is this loss of trust between people and politicians.”

He is also critical of the behav-iour of MPs from all parties in awarding themselves generous perks and benefits. “They seem to be able to apply a differing standard than most ordinary people expect to achieve,” he said.

“They are able to put a claim in for expenses up to a figure of £250 without having to provide a detailed receipt. Whereas everybody else will be expected to provide some form of receipt.

“MPs also awarded themselves pensions which nobody could expect to replicate. These are the people taking decisions affecting the lives of many people and you really can’t have this disconnect with what they’re doing for themselves, and what decisions they are taking on behalf of the rest of the population.”

He also attacked the way in which the political parties had run the last election campaign: “The issues they knew they were going to be dealing with shortly after the election — like pension issues, like climate change, like whether we should build nuclear power stations... were not thoroughly debated.

“There has been a failure by the whole political class to understand how to present and deal with issues in an adult way with the British people... They’re going to have to change their approach for the future.”

The same paper has more on the Labour Party's decadence here.

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