Things are only to get worse trying to hold politicians to account

Boris Johnson (centre) in the House of Commons with Michael Gove and Jacob Rees-Mogg

Boris Johnson (centre) in the House of Commons with Michael Gove and Jacob Rees-Mogg - Credit: PA

Why have our attitudes to standards slipped?

When John Major’s government was suffering from a reputation for sleaze, his response was to establish the Committee on Standards in Public Life which set out seven principles for a code of conduct for those in public life: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership, also known as the Nolan Principles.

Twenty-five years later and it seems that the guiding principles of the current government are the complete antithesis of Nolan. Indeed, with the latest revelations from Jennifer Arcuri, it would seem that the PM, who should be seeing that the Nolan principles are upheld by his ministers, has the least regard for them of all.



At the time, the public perception of Tory sleaze seemed to be one of the significant factors in the subsequent defeat of Major in the 1997 election. One of the things that puzzles me now is how relatively little scrutiny there is of the actions of the PM, his ministers and advisers from parliament and the media, and how accepting of these behaviours the public are now.

How did we get here? And how do we ensure that those in public office are held to account? A leader sets the example. If there are now no effective standards and a willingness to uphold them, I fear it is only going to get worse.
Nick Roberts, Selly Oak

MORE: The stench of scandal seeping out from Britain

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