This evening, while faffing about on the UK Parliament website looking for something I couldn’t actually find, I came across this.
In its entirety, ‘this’ is actually a snappily-titled document which goes by the name of The Code of Conduct Approved by The House of Commons on 13 July 2005 together with The Guide to the Rules relating to the conduct of Members Approved by The House of Commons on 9 February 2009.
Basically, this is school rules for MPs. And, as we know, they have a tendency not to follow those.
I can assure you, if you have never encountered this document before, that it’s a truly thrilling read (not) – in fact, it should probably be prescribed on the NHS as a cure for insomnia. However you can, should you so desire after all that, download it here.
This particular passage, which comes from section IV (General Principles of Conduct), immediately jumped out at me for obvious reasons. I reproduce it here without comment, mostly because I don’t think it needs any:
Holders of public office should take decisions solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends.
Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might influence them in the performance of their official duties.
In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.
Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.
Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.
Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.
Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.”