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UK MPs to get mandatory training in 'honesty'

Published Dec 15, 2013, 9:50 pm IST
Updated Mar 19, 2019, 12:16 am IST
Training with a view to teach new MPs how to 'behave' in a public office.

London: Britain's new MPs will be given compulsory "honesty" training to teach them how to behave in a public office after a series of scandals have left the public "jaundiced" and disillusioned with politics.

The standards watchdog is to devise courses in ethics for the MPs to ensure they can spot the difference between right and wrong. Lord Bew, the chairman of the committee on standards in public life, said the courses — to start after the next general election — would increase "the awareness of practical ethical issues among MPs".


The seminars will increase "the ethical sensitivity of members of parliament" and coach them in how to behave in a number of scenarios — such as accepting gifts from outside bodies and dealing with lobbyists, Bew was quoted as saying in a The Sunday Times report.

The courses are designed to address public unease after a series of scandals that have left the public "jaundiced" and disillusioned with politics. Tutors would remind MPs that they should behave in public life with "integrity, selflessness and honesty", the report said.

Bew said it was no longer enough for MPs to say "basically I know in my gut what to do" and they needed "compulsory training" to spot the difference between right and wrong.

"People are thrust into situations they don't expect and they are not necessarily equipped to know how to behave. There are sometimes simple cases of corruption, but a lot of what is going on now is it is a little bit more complicated to work out what is right and what is wrong," Bew was quoted as saying.

Bew said even MPs who had honest intentions could benefit from training in "ethical awareness". The peer said MPs should have the same training in ethics as lawyers, accountants and bankers. He hoped the courses would help to restore public trust in public life.