Buck stops with PM on ministers code of conduct

15 Feb 01
The code of conduct for government ministers should be beefed up and lines of accountability strengthened, according to a cross-party committee of MPs.

16 February 2001

Members of the public administration select committee said the code needed to be put on a firmer footing, with its status as a 'rule book' for ministers clearly recognised. MPs also said responsibility for enforcing the code must rest with the prime minister.

'It is now an integral part of the new constitutional architecture,' their report said. 'It is with the prime minister that the buck must finally stop. This closes the accountability gap.'

The committee said the Parliamentary ombudsman, Michael Buckley, should be empowered to mount independent investigations into alleged breaches of the code, reporting all findings back to the prime minister and the House.

The Parliamentary commissioner for standards, Elizabeth Filkin, should advise ministers on their obligations under the code, it added.

The move comes as the Hammond investigation continues into the role of ministers in the affair of the Hinduja brothers' passport applications.


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