Plaid Cymru MP to introduce law at Westminster to ban deliberate lying from politics
Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader, Liz Saville Roberts MP, will today introduce a Bill to Parliament with the aim of banning deliberate lying from politics.
In a speech in the House of Commons, she will call on MPs to “defend democracy, serve the public, and protect the basic standards by which we should all live”, by supporting her Bill.
Plaid Cymru’s Bill would make it an offence for politicians to wilfully lie to the public. Arbitration would be carried out under the same procedures already used to determine whether a business or corporation has intentionally mis-sold or misled, they said.
Repeated offences would be sanctioned with a fine or, ultimately, disqualification from standing for election for up to 10 years.
Ahead of the introduction of her Bill to Parliament, Liz Saville Roberts MP said: “Each day now brings with it more deception, dishonesty, and duplicity from the highest levels of government.
“Lies have been told to win elections, spread hate, and evade scrutiny.
“The consequence has been the withering away of public faith in democracy and the trashing of common values: according to a survey by the think-tank Compassion in Politics the number one value that voters believe is absent in our politics is that of honesty.
“Our choice as their representatives is either to obfuscate rambunctiously while faith in democracy crumbles or act in the name of those we are meant to serve. That is why today I will bring before parliament a Bill that, if passed, would make it an offense for politicians wilfully to lie to the public.”
Plaid Cymru pointed to a poll undertaken by Opinium for the thinktank Compassion in Politics reveals that the public are concerned about the lack of honesty in UK politics, with 53% citing dishonesty from politicians as a concern, and 63% wanting to see more honesty in politics.
The same poll found that 73% of people support Liz Saville Roberts’ Bill, including 71% of Conservative voters and 79% of Labour supporters.
Liz Saville Roberts added: “No institution is indelible, no power irrevocable. Systems and structures that were once seen as immortal have perished and been forgotten. We cannot allow our parliamentary democracy – and the values on which it is built – to go the same way.
“Honesty is not only the best policy – it is essential to the creation of policy.
“Many people in public life are concerned by the state of our politics. Many have spoken out – although others have been silent till now.
“That doesn’t matter. What matters is what we do next. It’s time to work together, cross-party, to defend democracy, serve the public, and protect the basic standards by which we should all live.”
Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price, as MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr in 2007, first introduced an Elected Representatives (Prohibition of Deception) Bill in order to hold Tony Blair accountable for using misleading information to justify the Iraq War.
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.