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Tuesday, August 03, 2021

More on the sleaze watchdog role

The Independent has more details on the appointment of one of Boris Johnson's Bullingdon Club chums to the sleaze watchdog, the Committee on Standards In Public Life.

They say that Ewen Fergusson, a member of Oxford’s infamous dining club at the same time as the prime minister, was handed the role last month ahead of 171 other candidates, with Johnson being given the ultimate say on which of the candidates to appoint following a shortlisting process led by Lord Evans, the chair of the committee:

The latest revelation comes after the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption and integrity watchdog warned in June that the British government had ignored instructions to strengthen UK anti-corruption controls, in a scathing report that gave the government its lowest compliance marks ever.

The row over weaknesses in the UK’s integrity oversight is the latest in a series of scandals around lobbying and access to government ministers.

On Monday it emerged that MPs with second jobs are facing scrutiny over worries that they could exploit a lobbying loophole.

Examples include Tory MP Alun Cairns, vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on taxis, which agreed to “continue pressuring the government to provide urgent financial support for taxi drivers”.

While working as an MP, Mr Cairns is also employed as a paid adviser to Veezu, a private hire and taxi firm.

In the circumstances it would seem reasonable that not only should the members of this committee be entirely independent but also that they have the teeth to do the job they have been tasked with.
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