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Thursday 04 November 2021

FDA condemns “vicious and orchestrated” personal attacks on Parliamentary Standards Commissioner

FDA General Secretary Dave Penman has condemned “completely unacceptable” personal attacks on the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards – “a public servant who cannot answer back” – describing the campaign against her, in comments reported by the Daily Mail, as “vicious and orchestrated”.

Speaking to Good Morning Scotland on Thursday, prior to the government’s U-turn on their attempted changes to the standards regime in the House of Commons, Penman criticised the “unedifying spectacle” of government ministers trying to force the resignation of the Commissioner. He also referred to events in the House of Commons on Wednesday, and the vote on the sanction against Owen Paterson and changes to the standards regime, as “a really bad day for probity and standards in public life”, which would have far reaching consequences across the public sector.

Following the vote, Penman spoke out against MPs who were “more concerned about protecting one of their own rather than following their Code of Conduct and upholding standards”.

Penman continued: “The public – as well as staff in the House of Commons – rightly expect an independent process to deal with complaints about the conduct of members. However, the reality of today’s vote is that the government has whipped its MPs to exert party political control over the system for regulating the conduct of MPs.

“This is a retrograde step which risks undermining the public’s confidence in the system for holding MPs to account and dealing a fatal blow to the independent process set up to deal with complaints of bullying and harassment against MPs.”   that “the reality of today’s vote is the government whipped its MPs to exert party political control over the system for regulating their conduct. This is a fatal blow to the independent process set up to deal with bullying and harassment complaints.” 

His comments were reported in the Independent, the Scotsman and a wide range of local press. 
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