The Liberal Democrats have called for tougher sanctions for ministers who break the ministerial code, including being fined or forced to resign.
The Liberal Democrats said that partygate showed that Boris Johnson and other Conservative ministers can’t be trusted to mark their own homework and that urgent reforms are needed to restore faith in Parliament and the democratic process.
The party’s package of reforms include:
- Putting the Ministerial Code into law and making sure it is fully independent of the prime minister.
- Appointing an Independent Adviser to oversee the Code and launch their own investigations
- Introducing a range of sanctions for those found to have broken the Ministerial Code. This could include apologies, fines, and demanding a minister’s resignation.
The proposals were voted on by party members at the Liberal Democrat Spring Conference.
Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain MP, a former police officer who led an emergency debate on sleaze in November, commented: “Time and again, Boris Johnson and other Conservative ministers have dodged public scrutiny and behaved as though the rules don’t apply to them.
“The current ministerial code is overseen by a toothless watchdog, allowing ministers to break the rules with impunity. That needs to change.
“We need to strengthen the ministerial code so that those who break the rules face proper consequences, including being fined or losing their job.
“This would ensure ministers are no longer allowed to mark their own homework, to prevent the rule-breaking and sleaze we’ve seen in recent years.”