Ministerial Code - They be merely guidelines."
When Matt Hancock ‘resigned’ he left many unanswered questions about his conduct in office. When reading the Ministerial code of conduct that is signed by Boris himself we have to ask why Boris did not sack Hancock the moment that the incriminating photo appeared and the subsequent admission about his affair.
There is some malodorous air seeping from the corridors of Westminster these past eighteen months and more so the last few days. The PM yesterday, contradicting what was said on Friday and Saturday, as this tremendous calamity reared its ugly head it made the picture of disorder in number 10 come into sharp focus.
Foreword by The Prime Minister
“The mission of this Government is to deliver Brexit on 31st October for the purpose of uniting and re-energising our whole United Kingdom and making this country the greatest place on earth. We will seize the opportunities offered by Brexit, investing in education, technology and infrastructure, unlocking the talents of the whole nation and levelling up across our United Kingdom so that no town or community is ever again left behind or forgotten. In doing so, we will make our country the greatest place to invest or set up a business, the greatest place to send your kids to school and the greatest place in the world to live and bring up a family. To fulfil this mission, and win back the trust of the British people, we must uphold the very highest standards of propriety – and this code sets out how we must do so. There must be no bullying and no harassment; no leaking; no breach of collective responsibility. No misuse of taxpayer money and no actual or perceived conflicts of interest. The precious principles of public life enshrined in this document – integrity, objectivity, accountability, transparency, honesty and leadership in the public interest – must be honoured at all times; as must the political impartiality of our much admired civil service. Crucially, there must be no delay - and no misuse of process or procedure by any individual Minister that would seek to stall the collective decisions necessary to deliver Brexit and secure the wider changes needed across our United Kingdom. The time has come to act, to take decisions, and to give strong leadership to change this country for the better. That is what this Government will do.”
BORIS JOHNSON *
*source Ministerial Code Document Gov.uk website.
The extract clearly shows the “expectations the PM” had written for all Ministers of the Crown in respect to their behaviour whilst in office, were just empty words on the parchment. As the PM has put his name to this document and it’s principles, why did he dither and then decide not to sack Matt Hancock?
Even today on Sky News the PM says he acted swiftly with his decision. I think not Boris. In the statement above he says “ To fulfil this mission, and win back the trust of the British people, we must uphold the very highest standards of propriety – and this code sets out how we must do so.”
I believe you have lost whatever trust the people had in you or your government a long time ago.
Hancock showed his megalomaniac tendencies right at the beginning of the crisis and remained unchecked for the last 18 months, why wasn’t he removed from post earlier when those tendencies raised their ugly head?
7.1 Ministers must ensure that no conflict arises, or could reasonably be perceived to arise, between their public duties and their private interests, financial or otherwise.
He started an affair with his advisor Gina Coladangelo, whom he appointed to a non-executive role to the department of Health which comes with a £15,000 allowance. It is this appointment that is also under the microscope as questions have been raised as to her experience and knowledge for the role.
Why are people appointed to a role they have no experience for?
You wouldn't employ a bus driver to pilot a plane.
Any good leader, be it in business or government, should know what their direct reports are doing both professionally and personally, to be in a position to give guidance and also tell them when they have stepped out of line. Boris it seems missed the signs.
Again and again over the decades we have seen those parties in government and in opposition embroiled in sleaze and corruption. We always get the same flimsy justifications and promises that all will be cleared up and will not be allowed to happen again. It seems that the PM is reading the lines of Mr Gibbs from The Pirates Of The Caribbean film where he is asked “what about the Pirate code?” Mr Gibbs says “ they be merely guidelines.”
We cannot continue with a system where the PM can write the rules and decide who and when they will be followed.
The Libertarian Party offers a very different way forward with a written Constitution. Important to note that the constitution is a legal document with fixed meaning, not a living or flexible document open to interpretation. Most importantly all officers which includes members of the lower and upper house shall be bound to an oath to the Constitution and that a breach of that oath be considered a serious matter. Officers be susceptible to impeachment; elected officials to expulsion; members of the upper house open to recall by the State legislatures.
People around the country are realising that the Conservative party and their leader have seriously let them down both with policy decisions surrounding the present pandemic and on moral issues. The Labour party are in opposition in name only.
In the introduction to The Constitution of Liberty, Hayek wrote “ If it is true, as is sometimes objected, that the necessary condition for a free evolution - the spirit of individual initiative - is lacking, then surely without that spirit no viable civilisation can grow anywhere. So far as it is really lacking, the first task must be to waken it; and this regime of freedom will do, but a system of regimentation will not."
It is up to us to embolden