A CODE OF ETHICS FOR POLITICIANS

Way back in 1994 when I was Vice Convener of Aberdeen Liberal Democrats, our region proposed a code of conduct for Scottish Lb Dem local and national politicians. This code was debated at conference and was ACCEPTED. It then disappeared into a black hole and despite attempting to find it I could not, so I resigned.

POLITICAL ETHICS CODE

This experience got me thinking about a more general code of political ethics and when I stood as an independent  candidate for the Scottish Parliament in 1999 I prepared the following code to guide my own behaviour as a politician – which I now update:

I will:

  1. Publish a full CV so that voters can judge my suitability and competence.
  2. Campaign and vote the way my constituents want me to, even if I disagree with them
  3. If, while in office, I wish to join a political party, I will resign my seat and will not stand as a candidate for a party for 12 months.
  4. Take only that part of my council/Parliamentary salary justified by the time spent on council/Parliamentary work.
  5. Make public all the organisations I work for.
  6. Publish my tax return so people can see what I earn from other sources
  7. NOT employ my spouse, partner or any relative in any Parliamentary role.
  8. Note use my Parliamentary/council expenses and resopurces to support any political party or lobbying group.
  9. Use economy class travel where possible.
  10. Publish my expenses and have them independently audited
  11. Detail all my activities (Parliamentary/council and other work) in a monthly report circulated to the Media and libraries in my constituency.
  12. Strive to avid derogatory, wasteful/petty point-scoring so common in politics.
  13. Answer questions directly  or state “I decline to answer”. If I do not know I will say so and find out and if I make mistakes I will reveal and correct them.
  14. Find and make explicit inefficiencies and unethical practices in Parliament/council.

How about asking your MP, MSP, council candidates to sign up to such a code?

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