The latest ‘standards’ debacle which involved Maria Miller again shows that Parliamentarians apply different (lower) standards to themselves!
Despite Coalition Cabinet Member Maria Miller having been found wanting by IPSA ( Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority) and by the Commons Committee on Standards, Prime Minister Cameron refused to dismiss her from office. During today’s (9th April) PMQs, Cameron attempted to justify his decision by arguing that he was affording Miller opportunity to defend herself.
Eh?? She had already been found guilty on one count or another. So, why should she given another chance ie to remain indefinitely in his Cabinet?
In any other walk of life she would have been dismissed from ministerial office immediately the outcome of proceedings had been made formally known. Indeed, many in ‘ordinary life’ would have been sacked from their employment. However, in this particular respect the position of MP is somewhat problematic. Unless and until Parliament establishes a new procedure for dismissing MPs in Mrs Miller’s type of circumstances, their position is secure. Apparently, the new regime would prevent a re-occurrence of Mrs Miller’s situation. Let us hope this is true.
The unacceptable fact is that this corrupt Parliament has proved unable to devise acceptable arrangements for disposing of MPs’ pay and expenses. Why should we be surprised when the Deputy Prime Minister and his Party MPs secured election on the basis of a false ‘pledge’ not to increase tuition fees. Why should we be surprised when an erstwhile Minister of Finance, David Laws, was constrained to resign from office by reason of fiddling expenses but is now returned to office as a Schools Minister!
Cameron has previously demonstrated appalling judgement as evidenced by his retention of Andy Coulson as his Director of Communications when assuming the office of prime minister. Even so, he failed to retain Andrew Mitchell as his Chief Whip despite Mitchell professing innocence about allegations being made against him. So much for “innocent until proven guilty”!
The plain fact is that Parliament has different standards. Unfortunately, they are not higher but lower than many of us are required to observe in ordinary life. This situation seems unlikely to change unless and until the English people assert themselves and elect MPs who truly represent us!