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Tory sleaze in Westminster

Thank you to everyone who got in touch about the conduct of the UK government and the various sleaze scandals in Westminster which has implicated dozens of Tory MPs. From the outset, I can assure you that my SNP colleagues and I share a number of your concerns and remain committed to holding this Government to account for their failures.

Time and again, the conduct of Boris Johnson and his Cabinet have shown that corruption and dangerous self-interest are at the centre of this UK government. Whether it’s cash for cronies, cash for access, off the books holidays or, lately, cash for peerages – it is clear the Tories are revelling in the lack of accountability and are happy to continue with their ‘one rule for them, another for us’ culture. It is fundamentally wrong that our parliamentary democracy is threatened by an overzealous PM who is happy to rip up the rules to protect his own, as was his initial intent in the case of Owen Paterson MP. Indeed, at the Standards Debate concerning the Owen Paterson case, the SNP fervently called out the toxicity of corruption tainting our political system and those who continue to lobby for private gain. This can be through MPs second jobs, or close associates garnering lucrative public contracts, as Paterson obtained half a billion in public money for testing company Randox despite an initial lack of equipment and no contract tendering process for competition among more equipped competitors. As we live in a representative democracy, the first and foremost responsibility of an MP is to represent their constituents who voted to elect them to parliament. Being an MP is a full-time role and fundamentally must be treated as such. Elected officials should not utilise their power as an MP to earn significant incomes in a second job I am also steadfast in the view that no outside interests should come into conflict with the role of an MP or its full-time nature. Given the egregious abuses we have seen by Tory MPs like Owen Paterson or Sir Geoffrey Cox working in the Caribbean against UK Gov corruption measures – it is shameful. With more than a quarter of Tory MPs having second jobs, it is abundantly clear there must be wholesale reform. With that said, the SNP supports reform of this corrupt system to prevent MPs utilising their positions of power for private gain at the expense of their constituents. It is wrong that this influence can be bought in our politics, and we must urgently stamp out this rot infecting our democracy. Furthermore, I can assure you the SNP in Westminster will continue to call for transparency and a comprehensive public enquiry into the handling of endemic Tory sleaze, cronyism and corruption at Westminster by this Prime Minister, his Cabinet and MPs to ensure accountability and those implicated in dodgy deals are held to account for their actions. Thank you again to everyone who got in touch to raise this incredibly important matter. I hope the above makes clear the views of both myself, and the wider SNP group, on the recent conduct of a UK government which has once again shown itself to be hopelessly unfit for purpose.

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