Angela Rayner said the current system is failing as Boris Johnson is ‘shameless in breaking the rules, and won’t enforce consequences on others who break them’
Image: Ian Vogler / Daily Mirror)
Labour will pledge to shut the “revolving door” which sees ministers cash in on their roles after leaving government.
In the wake of the latest Tory sleaze allegations, Deputy Leader Angela Rayner will tell a Whitehall think tank that an independent Integrity and Ethics Commission is needed to replace the current “alphabet soup of different committees and advisers”.
It would have powers to probe ministers, make decisions on sanctions for misconduct and ban former ministers from any job linked to their former role for at least five years after they leave office.
The plans come after recent lobbying scandals involving former Prime Minister David Cameron and ex-Chancellor Philip Hammond.
Calls for an overhaul of the system for investigating current ministers has grown after Boris Johnson opted not to sack Home Secretary Priti Patel when she was found to have bullied staff, and over the financing of the redecoration of the Prime Minister’s Downing Street flat.
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Ms Rayner will tell the Institute for Government: “The current system does not work and it has failed.
“It only works where there is respect for the rules and there are consequences for breaking them.
“Because of Boris Johnson there is no respect for the results and no consequences for breaking them.
“The current regime is no longer working precisely because we have a Prime Minister who is shameless in breaking the rules, and won’t enforce consequences on others who break them.
“Corruption – that is the word – is happening in plain sight and it is rife right through this Conservative Government.”
The Commission would “integrate and strengthen the fragmented system responsible for investigating and upholding standards across government”, said Labour.
It would be able to open investigations into misconduct and breaches of the Ministerial Code – replacing the role of the Independent Adviser on Ministers’ Interests.
The watchdog would also “set binding sanctions for breaches of the Ministerial Code”, recommend updates, and “ban former ministers from lobbying, consultancy or any paid work related to their former job for at least five years, closing the revolving door between ministerial office and lobbying for companies they used to regulate, and have the power to impose sanctions on former ministers who break the rules”.
It comes after a torrid few weeks for Mr Johnson, with a new Opinium poll showing Labour maintaining its narrow lead over the Tories.
Keir Starmer’s party had 38% of the vote share (up one point), with the Conservatives on 36%, according to the survey conducted between November 24-26.
Mr Starmer’s approval rating is now at+1% (32% approve, 31% disapprove), well ahead of Boris Johnson who is on -17% (31% approve, 48% disapprove).
Health Secretary Sajid Javid was grilled on whether Mr Johnson would lead the Conservatives into the next election amid unrest among Tory backbenchers over his handling of issues like sleaze.
Asked if Mr Johnson would lead the Tories into the next election, Mr Javid told Sky News: “Yes”.
Asked if he is still an election winner, Mr Javid said: “Yes, absolutely, and let me tell you why: Because we are delivering on our promises.”