Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bercow sits too close to the fire.

Fascinating stuff over at Anna Racoon, where evidence seems to show that the Speaker has being playing fast and loose with the rules when it comes to use of his position to raise funds.
Bercow has put together a group of supporters called The Friends of Speaker Bercow. Nothing wrong with that: but the approach they’re using is, to say the
least, dubious.
Letters requesting monetary support have been sent out to wealthy potential patrons….with a hard sell follow-up by phone. I have seen and been given a copy of this letter.
“His people are doing very hard-sell telephone follow-ups to the letter,” one recipient told me, “and they’re stressing that the request comes with the knowledge and approval of the Speaker’s Office”.
This was confirmed by a senior local Tory Party member, who felt that asking for ‘political’ funds (while playing up the Speaker’s Office angle) represented double standards.

This looks dubious in the extreme, especially as the follow up included invitations to receptions in the House of Commons from the Speaker's office.

So lets have a look at t eh MPs code of conduct.

Do Mr Bercow's actions come within the scope of the code?
The Code applies to Members in all aspects of their public life. It does not seek to regulate what Members do in their purely private and personal lives.

So yes, definately,
How about General principles of the code*
Holders of public office should take decisions solely in terms of the public interest.

Now Bercow might think that inviting people to receptions in the House of Common's after touching them up for £40 grand is in the public interest, but I have my doubts. He must take it as axiomatic that getting re-elected is in the public interest. His constituents may beg to differ.

Rule 9 repeats this point,
9. Members shall base their conduct on a consideration of the public interest, avoid conflict between personal interest and the public interest and resolve any conflict between the two, at once, and in favour of the public interest.

To use the office of speaker as a way to raise funds is quite obviously wrong. But what should we expect from this chap?

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