Transparency campaigners say action is needed on MPs' foreign trips

By agency reporter
July 20, 2018

Commenting on the news that Ian Paisley MP has been suspended from Parliament, after being found to have breached Parliamentary rules relating to holidays paid for by the Sri Lankan Government, Steve Goodrich, Research Manager at Transparency International UK, said: “We welcome the Standards Committee’s decision to impose a sanction for what are egregious breaches of Parliament’s rules, although there are questions as to whether this penalty goes far enough.”

“To accept hospitality from a foreign government, totalling tens if not hundreds of thousands of pounds, failing to declare it and then lobbying on behalf of their interests leaves us all with the impression that MPs can be bought. To some this could seem very much like a bribe. Not only does this action provide no benefit to their constituents or the wider national interest, it brings our whole democratic system into disrepute.”

“Unfortunately this is not an isolated case, with dozens of parliamentarians accepting all-expenses paid trips over the past decade as guests of regimes, often deemed to be corrupt and repressive. Although some might put this down as poor due diligence by a misled few, our research has found this to be a wider problem. Urgent action is needed to stop the abuse of foreign junkets by those looking to fetter the independence and integrity of our Parliament.”

* Transparency International http://www.transparency.org.uk/

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