THURROCK MP Jackie Doyle Price rose on the floor of the House of Commons to deliver a speech on lobbying.
Ms Doyle Price said:
I DO not know about anyone else, but when I stood for election to this House and was fortunate enough to be elected, I took very seriously the Oath that I made when I entered here. I stood for Parliament because I wanted to serve the public and do my bit. I did so because I believed in the integrity of this placeand I believed in the integrity of hon. Members. I believe that everybody in this place actually wants to do their best for this country and for the British public.
I am very concerned about what we have learned about the Greensill affair over the past week, but I am even more disappointed by the reaction of Labour Members to this, because it does not just reflect on the Conservative party; it reflects on every single one of us. Those of us who care about the political culture of this country—and we all should, given that we have all stood for election to this place and made great sacrifices to do so—should all be working together to address the very real concerns that have been raised with us. When I drove in this morning, there was a sign attached to the railings outside Westminster that said: “Self-serving liars are destroying our nation”. I do not believe that any Member of this House is a self-serving liar.
I say to Labour Members very gently that we have structures in this House to look at these matters. If they had bothered to talk to my hon. Friend Mr Wragg, they would have learned that we have been reaching conclusions on these matters over the past year. We have realised that ACOBA has no teeth. We have realised that Members of this House are held to greater account for transgressions than Ministers who break the ministerial code. The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards has more teeth. We have been looking at exactly those matters.
Tomorrow, we are having the chairman of ACOBA before us to look at these issues. We are taking our obligations to this House very seriously, so it is very disappointing not only that the Opposition view what we are doing with no confidence, but that they clearly have no confidence in Opposition Members who are members of that Committee either.
On the issue of whether the rules are strong enough, the fact of the matter is that sunlight is the best disinfectant. We all can reach our own conclusions about the behaviour not only of David Cameron, but other former Prime Ministers. Whatever the rules are, and whatever the limits of sanction are, the one thing that David Cameron will be concerned about more than anything else is the damage to his reputation that has been done by this episode. Frankly, that will be with him for a very long time. Let us be clear: we have some of the best standards in western democracies, we can always do better and we will be doing our bit to make sure we address some of these issues.