Labor will today pledge to “turn the page on Conservative sleaze” if they win the next election, and Deputy Speaker Angela Rayner is set to develop the party’s plans for an ethics watchdog for ministerial standards.
In a speech to the Institute of Government, Ms Rayner is expected to renew her commitment to “stop the rot” by creating a new independent body with powers to sanction ministers who break the rules.
Ms Rayner will say that the Tories have tested and broken the ‘nice guys’ theory in Westminster.
In addition, he will pledge to show people how “politics is working for them” by the end of Labor’s first term in government.
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Proposals for the new watchdog were first announced by the party in 2021 and include a commitment to remove Whitehall’s existing revolving door watchdog, the Business Appointments Advisory Committee (Acoba), and introduce a more solid.
Acoba was responsible for reviewing Sir Keir Starmer’s job offer to former civil servant Sue Gray, and would be replaced by an Ethics and Integrity Commission, Labor said.
Ms Rayner will later say: “We will clean up the policy, so that by the end of our first term people not only feel better, but can see that the policy works for them, not Westminster.
“Our democracy cannot depend on gentlemen’s agreements: it needs strong and independent protection. Politics has to work for the people, not for the politicians. We are here to serve the public, not ourselves.”
The commission would have the power to launch investigations into ministers, determine violations and demand sanctions from former ministers who break the rules. It is part of an attempt by Labor to close the “revolving door” between public office and the lucrative roles for the companies they used to regulate.
Former ministers would be banned from lobbying, consulting or any paid work related to their former roles for at least five years under plans if Labor seizes number 10.
It comes after a series of standards disputes have rocked Rishi Sunak’s government in recent months, with ministers Gavin Williamson, Nadhim Zahawi and Dominic Raab leaving cabinet over allegations of misconduct.
Sunak appointed Sir Laurie Magnus as his independent adviser, after the position sat vacant for many months under Liz Truss and Boris Johnson, who oversaw the investigation that led to Zahawi’s departure.
Ms Rayner will commit Labor to replace the adviser to “end the current situation where the Prime Minister is the judge and jury in all cases of ministerial misconduct.”