Ethics and Integrity

November 21, 1999

The downfall of Jeffrey Archer was utterly predictable. Many party members knew he would never get to the Mayoral election. Below we show the major flaw in the Conservative Party selection process. This apart, what else could or should have been done?

 

Under the Party's Constitution it states:

 

80         "No Member of Parliament, Prospective Member of Parliament, Member of the European Parliament or Prospective Member of the European Parliament, Councillor or Candidate, Party Member, Party Officer, Party employee or applicant for membership shall engage in conduct bringing or likely to bring the Party into disrepute.

81         If  the conduct of any of those mentioned in Article 80 above is such that the Leader or the Board, in his or its absolute discretion, has grounds for thinking, is or may be conduct bringing or likely to bring the Party into disrepute, the Leader or the Board shall refer the matter to a Committee, the Ethics and Integrity Committee, appointed by the Board and consisting of the Chairman of the National Convention and the Chairman of the 1922 Committee and which shall be chaired by a Queen's Counsel in private practise"

 

In view of the above why didn't the Ethics and Integrity Committee thoroughly check out Jeffrey Archer? Was it because the Party at the top still operates like a cosy little club and members of that club rather enjoyed champagne and shepherds pie at Jeffrey's expense, either at the party conference or at his various homes? The truth is that the Committee should have given a grilling to the candidate for Mayor of London, because it is such a high profile position. He should have been questioned at length. So who should take responsibility for the debacle that ensued because of the failure of the Committee to act. It would be unreasonable to put the blame on the Leader. Organisation comes under the responsibility of the Party Board and its Chairman. Here is where the failure lies, but 
what can Party members do about it? The Party Chairman is appointed by the leader. He is not elected by the members. Until this happens there is no democratic accountability within the Conservative Party. Brace yourself for further cases like Jeffrey Archer to arise in the future.

 

Incidentally:

 

83     The Ethics and Integrity committee shall :

83.4 meet at least twice a year to consider issues of integrity and personal conduct in general, and if it judges necessary, or on the request of the Leader, shall report as appropriate.

 

    When has it met and what has it reported?   After all:

 

85     "The determination of the Ethics and Integrity Committee shall be published by the Board as soon as reasonably practicable after receipt by it".

 

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