Anti-sleaze watchdog wants MPs to be punished if they violate conduct standards.

  • The Committee on Standards in Public Life urged that sleaze should be punished
  • A report has suggested that ACOBA should penalize lobbyists who break the rules.
  • Under the recommendations, David Cameron, former PM of Great Britain, would have been fined

Former ministers should be hit in the pocket if they break lobbying rules, Whitehall’s anti-sleaze watchdog has recommended.

The Committee on Standards in Public Life has today released a report calling for a complete overhaul of conduct systems in light of the Greensill scandal.

David Cameron, the former prime minister, was not punished despite lobbying ministers privately to obtain access to an emergency coronavirus loans scheme for Greensill Capital.

He did not face retribution – but he would under the recommended changes.

Current rules prohibit ex-ministers and civil servants, as well as former ministers, from lobbying for government for two consecutive years.

ACOBA found Tory MP Owen Paterson guilty of breaching lobbying rules last week and suspended him for 30 days

ACOBA found Tory MP Owen Paterson guilty last week of violating lobbying rules and suspended him from office for 30 days

It cannot force them to accept it, or sanction those who ignore it.

Current ministers are subject to the approval of the prime minister, who decides whether or not members of the government should face criminal investigation for breaking the ministerial codes.

But the chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, Lord Evans of Weardale, said the system is ‘no longer satisfactory’.

He has called for the Government to be given a more ‘thorough and rigorous compliance function’.

It comes as the Government faces calls to overhaul Parliament’s anti-sleaze watchdog itself after it found Tory MP Owen Paterson guilty of breaching lobbying rules.

The former environment minister faces a 30-day suspension in the Commons. He could also lose his seat.

The report comes after former Prime Minister David Cameron escaped punishment for lobbying on behalf of Greensill Capital to secure a coronavirus rescue loan

This report is coming after David Cameron, ex-Prime Minister, was not punished for lobbying Greensill Capital to obtain a coronavirus loan rescue loan.

Mr Paterson has maintained his innocence and claimed the ‘biased’ way the inquiry was carried out was a major factor in the suicide of his wife Rose last year.

Allies of Mr Paterson might propose an amendment to Wednesday’s motion to reduce his suspension.

According to the report, politicians who violate the ministerial code should be subject to a variety of sanctions, including fines and resignations.

It recommended that ex-ministers or officials with a particularly senior position working for lobbying firms be barred for five years.

The change would allow the prime minister’s ethics adviser and other watchdogs to dock part of the pensions and severance pay of former ministers and top civil servants if they are found to be in breach of the rules.

The report also found that the public believe that politicians are ‘not held to account for poor ethical standards’.

Sir John Major, an ex-prime minister who established the standards committee after his premiership was roiled by sleaze scandals has backed the recommendations. They have also been supported by Labour.

Sources in Government said that Jacob Rees-Mogg, Commons Leader, understood the arguments for reform.