Plaid Cymru writing to Met Police asking them to investigate House of Lord honours
Plaid Cymru’s leaders say they are writing to the Met Police asking them to investigate peerages given to those who donated over £3m to the Conservative party.
The party’s Westminster leader, Liz Saville Roberts MP, said in the House of Commons that the police should investigate whether offences have been committed by the Conservative Party under the Honours Prevention of Abuses Act of 1925.
An investigation by The Sunday Times and Open Democracy on the weekend revealed that wealthy benefactors appeared to be almost guaranteed a peerage if they took on the temporary role as the party treasurer and increase their own donations beyond £3 million.
In the past two decades, all 16 of the party’s main treasurers — apart from the most recent, who stood down two months ago having donated £3.8 million — have been offered a seat in the Lords, they said.
Liz Saville Roberts said that she and Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price were “writing to the Metropolitan Police, asking them to conduct an investigation to determine whether offences are being committed by the Conservative Party under the Honours Prevention of Abuses Act of 1925”.
She also called for major reforms to the Westminster political system in light of a series of what she called “corruption scandals” following the Owen Paterson lobbying row.
In a speech in the House of Commons, where MPs can speak with legal immunity, Ms Saville Roberts said that “if the system cannot be reformed to stop corruption – perhaps the system is itself the problem”.
“Faith in Westminster politics is at an all-time low, thanks to this Government,” she said. “Major reforms are needed to regain trust.
“We need independent oversight of the Ministerial Code. Ban MPs from having second jobs, except for public service. Force Ministers to correct the record after giving misleading information in the Chamber. Scrap the House of Lords and replace it with an elected upper Chamber.
“But if the system cannot be reformed to stop corruption – perhaps the system is itself the problem.”
She closed by saying: “The people of Wales are seeing their representation here being reduced from 40 to 32 members. They see a government with a robust majority being able to ride roughshod over perfectly normal accepted ethical standards.
“The people of Wales will be asking whether this is the system that serves them best or if the people of Wales could do it better themselves.”
Her comments came after Conservative MP Owen Paterson resigned last week following a damning report from the cross-party Commons committee on standards.
It concluded that Paterson’s 14 approaches to ministers and public officials while being paid to advise companies were an “egregious” case and that he had brought parliament in to disrepute.
However rather than voting to discipline Owen Paterson, last week when Conservatives were given a three-line whip to support a proposal to set up a new committee, chaired by a Conservative MP, to draw up plans for a new appeals system.
250 MPs backed the proposal and opposition MPs vowed to boycott the committee before leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg announced a U-turn, saying any reforms to the standards system would need cross-party support.
Today Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said Boris Johnson has “corroded trust” in MPs after a U-turn.
“When he says the rules to stop vested interests don’t apply to his friends, he corrodes that trust and when he deliberately undermines those charged with stopping corruption he corrodes that trust,” he said.
“And that is exactly what the prime minister did last week.”
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