A Liars Charter that gives MPs a Green Light to Lie

Earlier this week it came to light that a false and misleading statement had been made by George Freeman MP concerning tariffs on food products imported into EU from Africa in a report by Full Fact (https://fullfact.org/economy/george-freeman-africa-eu-tariffs/)

Given that the Government response to the Parliamentary petition (https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/561730 ) organised by Joel Baccas calling for MPs misleading the public to be made a criminal offence stated very clearly that such matters were for the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner to deal with, we made a formal complaint to the Commissioner regarding the issue of Freeman’s statement.

Despite the fact that there is absolutely no doubt that the statement made by Freeman is factually inaccurate, the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner has refused to investigate the issue, and looking at the procedures statement for the Commissioner, the Commissioner’s decisions are final and there is no right of or procedure for appeal.

This news of course comes in a week when we have seen that it is not possible for an MP to call out another MP for lying in the chamber of the House of Commons itself. As we have seen in those circumstances the liar walks away and the MP calling out those lies is suspended.

Furthermore, the Standards Committee itself does not investigate complaints about MPs.

Overall, this means there is absolutely no way of holding an MP to account should they mislead the public or lie.

This is not acceptable, especially when you take into account that as we have seen, the ministerial code of conduct is also seriously flawed as the Prime Minister of the day has the final say which is a major problem when the holder of that office is a proven serial liar.

Whilst The Standards Committee itself does not investigate complaints against MPs, part of their role is to review the code of conduct for MPs and make recommendations for changes to it, and they also supervise the work of the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner.

They are therefore one group of people that we need to hold to account on this issue

Please contact them and tell them that the current system is effectively a liars charter as it gives MPs a green light to mislead the public and to lie, and that the system is unacceptable and needs to change.

Their e mail address is standards@parliament.uk