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Are our MP’s standards of decency falling?

(63 Posts)
Realgranddad Fri 20-Jul-18 11:02:16

In recent months we have seen and heard of many instances where Parliamentarians standards of behaviour have been under the spotlight, including sexual abuse, bullying, deceitful practices, sheer rudeness and arrogant behaviour. It therefore seems appropriate to ask if our MPs standards of decency falling ? Some believe our electoral system is no longer fit for purpose creating far too many safe seats and in several Constituencies secure jobs for life. What ever is the cause do we have an answer to why politics have hit such a low standards in so many of the electorate views, is tribal politics now out of control? This weeks standards have again brought the questions into the public debate. For instance what has got into the Tory Party that It finds itself accused even by its own members of gutter politics and sheer dubious malpractices this week, over the Pairing scandal. Julian Smith MP the Party Chief Whip has brought his party and the PM this disrepute this week over is deceitful behaviour on pairing. That and his insistence that MP’s who are disabled and in wheelchair along with sick MP must go
through the voting lobbies rather than the norm of being allowed a proxy vote with being in attendance in the Commons, it is totally unnecessary, nor is it a decent practice for any modern thinking party to adopt
There are now likely to be several immediate consequences that may now make the work of good government practicable: the first is that it is a self-inflicted wound for the government that could make it harder for itto get its business done. For while MPs of every party can fall ill, it’s only the governing party that has ministers whose work can take them away from the House of Commons. If the opposition parties don’t think that their pairs will be honoured then they will have no reason to extend the benefit. The second consequence is that it has significant repercussions for the personal lives of MPs, who will find it still harder to juggle work and life. Some will put major life decisions on hold to avoid inconveniencing their side, if they worry that they won’t be paired.
The thirdwill be the consequences that ought to happen, but won’t: that for the second time in three weeks, ministers will have misled parliament with no consequence. And those repercussions are the most troubling of all.
It is difficult to understand what is what is happening to a once great party that today seems to be losing it moral standings.

lemongrove Fri 20-Jul-18 11:10:08

Are you a Conservative voter who is concerned, or a Labour voter I wonder?
All political parties have MP’s in them that sometimes fall short of good moral behaviour IMHO and this is certainly nothing new!
All it really means is that it’s harder to get away with poor
Behaviour now, because everything is in the spotlight.
On the pairing issue, it should probably be looked at and debated as to whether this has to be left a ‘moral’ issue or a legal one by the MP’s themselves.

mcem Fri 20-Jul-18 11:28:37

lemongrove do you ever accept that, just sometimes, what is going on in Parliament and
specifically in the Conservative party, is simply wrong and immoral?
Nb - not inviting comparisons, just a yes or a no.

Anniebach Fri 20-Jul-18 11:36:00

Unfair to judge the morals of one party unless one Is a member of the party, I criticise Corbyn more than May because I am a labour member and this is where my vote would go, well not whilst he is leader

PECS Fri 20-Jul-18 11:43:00

Does it make any difference to the question what political persuasion the OP is? The facts remain that bad practice/ behaviour has happened and if it is within our own party or not it needs to be challenged. Blind support is not helpful to high standards and strong democracy. The pairing debacle happened before. Perhaps the chief whip had been to see the play This House about a similar situation mid 70s.

MaizieD Fri 20-Jul-18 11:44:10

The problem, as I see it, Realgranddad is that Parliament operates on a system of 'honour' and conduct which has evolved over the past 200 years but is based on conduct appropriate to a 'gentleman'.

Under the veneer of politeness and good manners parliament in that time has been every bit as rumbustious as it can be now but underlying it all was a sense of honourable conduct which appears to be entirely lacking in our current parliament.

Remember the days of innocence when, for example, David Blunket resigned as Education Secretary because the SATs results weren't as good as he had promised they would be and he took responsibility for his department's failure to improve them?

Long gone...

MaizieD Fri 20-Jul-18 11:45:49

Good post, PECS

Anniebach Fri 20-Jul-18 11:56:50

Questioning the party one is a member of is the very opposite of blind support

PECS Fri 20-Jul-18 12:17:15

Annie your dislike of JC is tangible. He has not,however much you hate him, broken Parliamentary codes of conduct or brought the house into disrepute.
Debate the policy not the person.

Oldwoman70 Fri 20-Jul-18 12:26:41

To answer the OP's question, yes I do think standards are falling.

In the past people seemed to enter politics with the intention of at least trying to do the best for their constituents. Now it seems politicians are merely looking out for themselves and working for their own personal advancement and consider their constituents to be a nuisance to be tolerated.

I am not pointing the finger at any one party as I feel this applies to all parties, I accept there are some MPs who still try to work for their constituents but in my opinion they are few and far between.

Joelsnan Fri 20-Jul-18 12:36:18

It is the erosion of societal standards that is being mirrored in parliament.

Anniebach Fri 20-Jul-18 12:47:39

Here we go again, a poster who recently left this forum always brought up the false allegation that I hate Corbyn ,I do not hate, I dislike, I distrust, this is not hate

lemongrove Fri 20-Jul-18 12:56:18

mcem do you ever accept that it’s actually none of your business?
It does matter what a poster says in the OP and I prefer to know if I am answering a genuinely concerned member of that Party, or an Opposition voter ‘having a go’, because if the former it makes the question an honest one.
To reiterate, some MPs of allpolitical parties act badly at
times and I really don’t think either Party acts better or worse than they used to.
Apparently, some MP’s have ignored the pairing rule before this, it isn’t setting a precedent.

lemongrove Fri 20-Jul-18 13:01:31

The days of innocence MaizieD ? Think you may be looking back through rose tinted specs.
There has been plenty of un-gentlemenly behaviour from MP’s and Ministers over the course of my lifetime.
In any case, many may have been paragons of propriety in
The HOC but absolute swine outside it.

muffinthemoo Fri 20-Jul-18 13:03:09

I think Dominic Raab is a very lucky man to have had the pairing issue blow up just as he gets his big promotion to Brexit/DeExEU Secretary.

His recorded past with incidents relating to women he worked with is extremely sketchy.

lemongrove Fri 20-Jul-18 13:10:41

As it is a House rule to stick to the ‘pairing’ then of course all concerned should do, but if now and then some don’t, as appears to be the case, as I said in my first post on this thread, it needs to be something stronger than an agreement, otherwise this will happen when the voting could be a close result.Perhaps it will be in future.

GillT57 Fri 20-Jul-18 13:11:40

Yes, I do think that standards have fallen in the HoC, this disgraceful behaviour about pairing is just another desperate measure of a desperate government, and before you start on me lemongrove, this is not an anti-Tory criticism, it is criticism of a party losing control of its members. I am equally appalled by the behaviour of Corbyn and his cronies.

lemongrove Fri 20-Jul-18 13:13:36

I have no intention of ‘starting on you’ Gill you are as entitled to your opinion as anyone else on here.

GillT57 Fri 20-Jul-18 13:29:52

I just thought I would save you the trouble lemongrove seeing as you started straight away on realgrandad when he raised a valid point for discussion. It is extraordinary just how much faith you have in the Tory government, being a supporter doesn't mean you can't criticise them or be appalled by a particular action you know. There are cabinet ministers who are disgusted by the action of the Chief Whip so I am pretty sure their hides are tough enough to take the odd bit of criticism from the party faithful.

mostlyharmless Fri 20-Jul-18 13:34:36

Pairing arrangements being honoured is important to the integrity of Parliament. It’s particularly important when the Government hasn’t got a majority and there are so many tight votes over Brexit.
Esther Mcvey managed to evade censure for misleading Parliament as a Minister a week or two ago and now it seems to have been forgotten.
The Leave campaign overspending, Boris being economical with the truth (take your pick), all the allegations (against both sides) over sexual misconduct.......
Theresa May sucking up to Donald Trump......
I suspect in the past things were hushed up more, but it would be nice if politicians saw themselves as working for the country, not just for what they can make out of it.

lemongrove Fri 20-Jul-18 13:40:23

I have to refute that Gill as I most certainly did not ‘start’
On the OP.I merely asked a question.
I haven’t got much faith in any political party at the moment, and am not a member of any either, so am certainly not the party faithful.
Should somebody like Keir Starmer or anybody who is intelligent and reasonable take over as Leader Of The Opposition, and the likes of Corbyn, McDonald and Abbot vanish overnight I would be very happy.
If any MP’s won’t abide by the pairing rule, then the rule will need to have some legal basis.

GillT57 Fri 20-Jul-18 13:40:52

I agree mostlyharmless. The Tories have a few recent episodes as you have listed, and then Corbyn and his hateful pack of followers are hounding Margaret Hodge over who is allowed to define what is anti-semitism. Meanwhile, just who is actually getting on with the business of government?

lemongrove Fri 20-Jul-18 13:43:18

Yes mostly exactly, in the past things were hushed up more and it was easier to do....now it isn’t, and poor behaviour by any MP of any party is known about pretty quickly and openly.

Luckygirl Fri 20-Jul-18 13:47:24

I am not sure that standards are falling - I suspect that it has been like this for a very long time, and that people are more prepared to speak out. Parliament has, since its inception, contained a bunch of dubious folk. I don't think much has changed.

trisher Fri 20-Jul-18 13:53:08

The Conservative party are of course GillT57 and they are intent on carrying on with that business at any cost. So they will buy votes, abandon agreements and in fact do anything to cling on to power. And yes there were once gentlemen's agreements in the House that hadworked for centuries. But perhaps there is a brighter side, perhaps women MPs who had agreed to this system to see them through having babies will now demand proper maternity arrangements.