Boris Johnson has “polluted our democracy with corruption”, Angela Rayner has said.
In a speech on Monday morning, Labour’s deputy leader promised that her party would fix the “broken” system currently letting ministers off the hook if they win the next general election.
Under a Labour government, ministers would be banned from doing any lobbying, consultancy or paid work related to their previous jobs for a minimum of five years, and a new commission would financially punish ministers who break the rules.
‘The British people deserve better’
And Rayner said that unlike the current system, which allows the prime minister to reject watchdogs’ findings, Labour would accept the new body’s recommendations.
She said: “The current regime is no longer working precisely because we have a prime minister who is shameless in breaking the rules and won’t enforce consequences on others who break them.
“Corruption – that is the word – is happening in plain sight and it is rife right through this Conservative government.
“Why do the rules and standards matter? Because the people who are picking up the bill for this corrupt government are the taxpayers whose money ministers are wasting and abusing.
“Our democracy cannot hinge on gentleman’s agreements – it needs independent and robust protection from Conservative corruption.”
She added: “Boris Johnson’s corruption means that we must now urgently rebuild trust in our politics, in public office and in government as a force for good. That means rebuilding the regime that is not working.
“The British people deserve so much better than Boris Johnson’s corruption and failure.”
A Cabinet Office spokesperson said: “The government has committed to continually reinforcing high standards of conduct in public life so the public can have trust and confidence in the operation of government at all levels.
“As we have said previously, we will carefully consider the reports by the Committee on Standards in Public Life, Nigel Boardman and others, before setting out a full update to parliament in due course.
“It’s absolutely right that we fully take account of all of the evidence and work up the best solutions before responding.”
Labour’s comments come after, last year, Home Secretary Priti Patel kept her position despite adviser Sir Alex Allan’s findings that she broke ministerial rules with behaviour considered bullying towards her workers.
Priti Patel scandal
The Conservatives were accused of a “prime ministerial cover-up” that is “tantamount to condoning bullying” by shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds.
But Johnson rejected calls to sack Patel.
According to The Times, Sir Alex Allan concluded: “My advice is that the Home Secretary has not always met the high standards of the code in treating civil servants with respect.
“Instances would meet the definition of bullying. To that extent her behaviour has been in breach of the ministerial code even if unintentional.”