This question takes on added urgency after yet another dispiriting Prime Minister’s Questions (and non-answers) that simply served to reaffirm the decline in integrity.
Frankly, both Boris Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer were as bad as such other – the PM for his evasiveness and the Opposition leader for predictable questions over the now disgraced Matt Hancock’s downfall.
The now former Health Secretary is guilty of rank hypocrisy after breaching his own guidelines to pursue an office affair with his confidante Gina Coladangelo – a story crassly dismissed as a ‘Westminster bubble’ episode by the PM when it was put to him that the now infamous photo of the liaison was taken at a time when relatives were forbidden from comforting dying loved ones in hospital.
What is just as scandalous, however, is how Ms Coladangelo became an aide to the Cabinet Minister before her appointment as a non-executive director of the Department of Health and Social Secretary to oversee Mr Hancock’s work.
That Sir Keir did not place greater focus on the seriousness of this conflict of interest, and many others which have come to light at the DHSC in recent times, and that these matters were not afforded respect by the Tory leader, should perturb the UK’s silent majority who are fearful that probity no longer counts in politics.
Until responsibility for the enforcement of the Ministerial Code, a safeguard put in place in the 1990s, passes from the Prime Minister to Parliament, current standards, and the word ‘standards’ is applied loosely by this newspaper, will continue to decline to Britain’s detriment.
When honesty is under daily attack on social media, never has it been more important for our political leaders to set the right example.
Again, the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition failed that test.
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