Privileges Committee investigation alone won't rebuild public trust

15 June 2023 | Andrew Dudfield, Interim Chief Executive

Any MP found to have misled Parliament, let alone a former Prime Minister, should be held accountable for their actions.

During his time at No.10, Boris Johnson repeatedly made false and misleading claims, paving the way for other MPs to do the same. He quit Parliament having corrected the official record just once as Prime Minister.

The Privileges Committee notes in their report today that their inquiry “goes to the very heart of our democracy. Misleading the House is not a technical issue, but a matter of great importance.”

But the corrections system in Parliament is broken. Under current rules, most MPs aren’t allowed to correct the official record even if they wanted to. 

And those who can correct themselves—Government ministers, our most powerful elected representatives—too often choose not to.

MPs must do more to win back our trust. Will you join our campaign to make sure they do?

Yes, I want my MP to stand up for honesty

The Privileges Committee and its investigation is an example of how MPs across all parties can work together to uphold standards in Parliament. But this alone won’t rebuild public trust. 

So far this year, only 5 out of the 29 MPs Full Fact has asked to correct themselves have actually done so. 

Current Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and Labour and Liberal Democrat leaders Keir Starmer and Ed Davey are among those MPs who have yet to correct false or misleading claims after we have asked them. 

MPs must now do more to get their house in order. Fixing Parliament’s corrections system—currently the subject of a Procedure Committee inquiry—would be a good place to start. MPs should agree new rules to make it easy to correct mistakes, and ensure there are consequences for those who do not.

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