Tory leadership candidates urged to back bill which would make it an offence for politicians to lie
A cross-party group of MPs, led by Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts MP, has written to the Conservative Party leadership candidates urging them to adopt the Elected Representatives (Prohibition of Deception) Bill.
The Bill, which seeks to make it an offence for politicians to wilfully mislead the public, was tabled by Ms Saville Roberts last month, and co-sponsored by 9 other MPs, including the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas, the SNP’s Richard Thompson, Lib Dem Wendy Chamberlain, and Labour MPs Bell Ribeiro-Addy and Beth Winter.
Tory candidates have clashed with each other over issues relating to trust and truth in politics, with Rishi Sunak describing opponents’ tax plans as “a fairytale” and Kemi Badenoch urging others to “tell the truth”.
Ms Saville Roberts said that candidates have “upheld trust and honesty as key tenets” of their leadership campaigns but to show their commitment to “strengthening the values of compassion, respect and integrity in politics”, they must adopt the provisions of the Bill.
The letter reads: “We write to you as sponsors of the Elected Representatives (Prohibition of Deception) Bill as we are deeply concerned at evidence of the public’s declining trust in politicians.
“This bond of trust has been further eroded by the behaviour of many senior figures within the UK Government over recent years, and particularly by the outgoing Prime Minister.
“The culture of disregard for the rules which has been allowed to develop by the UK Government risks undermining public confidence in the entire political system.
“Truth and honesty are integral for transparent and democratic government, and refusal to acknowledge or apologise for making statements which are inaccurate or refusal to correct the record is deeply damaging for our democracy.
“As you may know, the Elected Representatives (Prohibition of Deception) Bill has been introduced in Parliament to address this very issue. The Bill would make it an offence for elected representatives to make public pronouncements which they know to be misleading, false or deceptive.
“The public are supportive of this measure, with polling conducted by Compassion in Politics showing that 73% of people support the introduction of such a law.
“Many of you have upheld trust and honesty as key tenets of your leadership campaigns. We agree that public faith must be restored in our political system through strengthening the values of compassion, respect and integrity in politics.
“Now is the opportunity to demonstrate that your words are meaningful and commit to adopting the Elected Representatives (Prohibition of Deception) Bill if you are successful in the Conservative leadership contest.”
The letter is signed by: Liz Saville Roberts MP Plaid Cymru Westminster leader, Richard Thompson MP SNP MP for Gordon Wendy Chamberlain MP Liberal Democrats Chief Whip, Caroline Lucas MP Green Party MP for Brighton and Pavilion, Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP Labour MP for Streatham, Stephen Farry MP Deputy Leader of Alliance, Ben Lake MP Plaid Cymru MP for Ceredigion, Hywel Williams MP Plaid Cymru MP for Arfon, Beth Winter MP Labour MP for Cynon Valley, Claire Hanna MP Social Democratic and Labour Party MP for Belfast South
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