Report from Frances Laing – March 23, 2010
Received a response today from the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. Joan Meredith and I made a joint citizen’s complaint about the letter Meg Hillier wrote to all M.P’s. For the text of the letter see this previous post:
The Commissioner “considers complaints where the complainant has provided sufficient evidence to justify an inquiry into whether a particular Member has breached the Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament and its associated rules“.
Unfortunately – the letter tells us the Commissioner is unable to help in this instance. The reason being “the Commissioner has no powers to investigate the actions of a Minister acting as a Minister, or indeed the expression of a member’s views and opinions. It follows he will not be able to look into your complaint“.
Are we seriously calling this a democratic process? Does that mean that Ministers can say anything they want to say, including making statements that are factually incorrect or misleading? Isn’t there anyone who calls them to account? This letter is positively Orwellian.
Thankfully there are other democratic mechanisms at work in the Yarl’s Wood matter. Firstly Public Interest lawyers have succeeded in securing a judicial review see this Guardian article:
Secondly, medical staff at Yarl’s Wood detention centre are also having to deal with complaints made to the General Medical Council. See this Guardian piece: