Privileges Committee | Boris Johnson

Hi all

Hope you are well.

Thoughts below on the publication today of the Committee of Privileges in to Boris Johnson.

Kevin Keith, Chair of the UK Open Government Network, said:

The report by the Committee of Privileges is a shocking indictment of the actions of the former Prime Minister which, as the report states, ‘goes to the very heart of our democracy.’

It states Boris Johnson ‘misled the House on an issue of the greatest importance to the House and to the public, and did so repeatedly.’

In 2021 the Committee on Standards in Public Life (CSPL) published a report on upholding standards.

It revealed that over three quarters (76%) of the British public agree that ethical standards in government are important for making democracy work and that over 40% of the public view the standards of conduct of Ministers (41%) and MPs (44%) as low or very low.

As has been demonstrated by the Committee of Privileges, the political system in this country does not belong to one person, one party, or even to one government. It’s ours. A common good that we all have a responsibility to protect and improve.

This report should serve as a catalyst for the government to act, repairing and updating the way standards are maintained and promoted.

This should include responding to the aforementioned CSPL report published over 18 months ago, and which like the 2021 Boardman report and the 2022 Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee report into Greensill Capital, pointed to the need for greater proactive attention to standards to protect the integrity of government.

But also, it should include consideration of engagement with civil society on the development of policy commitments related to standards and integrity in the UK’s next National Action Plan for Open Government. Transparency, accountability and scrutiny are crucial to building and maintaining the public’s trust.



Sortition Foundation’s demand for a Citizen’s Chamber is an idea whose time has come. 6 Government Committees already tested a Citizen’s Assembly on achieving Net Zero by 2050 and the recommendations were buried, despite the collective wisdom of ordinary people collated for that exercise in deliberative democracy. Time to stop relying on MPs to mark their own homework. Citizens Assembly on a Citizen’s Chamber time? The Public Admin and Constitutional Affairs Ctte might resource that! See BBC iPlayer People Versus Climate and check out the Irish experience. It is a growing global phenomena. Tried and proven system. Check out Belgium’s citizen participation / Warsaw in Poland and many others. Let’s return more power where it belongs, where vested financial interests cannot corrupt decisions that are killing us.

Hello Denise

I couldn’t agree more. All it takes for a small number of M.P.'s with power in their hands to be corrupted. At that point they work for the monied not for their constituents, merely throwing their constituents a bit of what they want to hear, just before election time.

Further, here is just one example of the utter failure of the current voting system. The newly invented Staffordshire Police and Fire Commissioner gets £78,000 a year has an office that cost £1 million and only gets 16% of the vote. That means that 84% of the vote are not being represented. This is the man who sent 49 police to march on citizens complaining about the notorious toxic Walley’s Quarry landfill as per The Panorama Programme 22nd May 2023.

That’s how bad the current voting system is. That’s not even close to a democracy.

With Regards
Deborah Mallender BA Hons,MA, PGCE, LLB, PGcert Law


Hello Deborah,

Sorry I’m replying to a two-week old thread.

“At that point they work for the monied not for their constituents …”

Most politicians aren’t so stupid to admit they are in the pockets of their donors but here is a clip of Nadine Dorries bucking the trend on Sky News.

The solution is to outlaw donations to political parties. Instead, how about giving £10 of public funding to every registered voter to donate to their preferred party/parties? The downside would be politics would no longer attract the same ‘calibre’ of participants and we’d just have to make do with those who

  1. Act solely in the public interest
  2. Avoid conflicts of interest
  3. Make impartial decisions based on merit
  4. Are accountable for their actions
  5. Are open and transparent
  6. Are honest and truthful
  7. Show leadership and
  8. Care passionately about doing the very best for society.

Someone could even draft eight “guiding principles of public life” by expanding on the above.




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Hi James I also read with interest what Lord Evans committee has to say about Standards in Public Life. Deborah