The Lying Toad Bill

I have often grimaced, often winced but never, until now, laughed outright at some of the awful bills placed before Parliament, a fortiori, that which comes out of it!

If the Elected Representative (Prohibition of Deception) Bill is an early April fool then the date set for it to be debated should certainly be 1 April 2008.

A Bill to prevent our elected representatives from telling Porkies?

Somehow, I do not see many MP's being summarily convicted and being given a level 5 pocket money fine and a disqualification under clause 1 which would only come into effect at the end of their term.

It would drag our courts straight into the political arena by MP's dragged screaming and kicking before a magistrate!

I 'weazel' defence for an elected representative (lying toad) at clause 1(4), but none at all for Joe Soap of the Daily Planet at Clause 2!

Or is it a bill, intended, under Clause 2 to prevent people from actually stating that they tell porkies

'This is not a genuine claim for expenses' by Mr Toad MP - guilty, level 3 fine!

'Weapons of Mass Destruction, real, present and dangerous", - the Prime Minister lied - guilty, level 3 fine!

While I do not see many MPs being hauled before the courts for lying under this Bill, what I do see is Joe Soap being dragged before the court for making a 'frivolous allegation' about the congenital liars!

This has about as much chance of becoming law (at least in it's present form) as I have of winning the Euro-lottery!

(edited to add hyperlink)

I caught this on the tele the other night and being utterly ignorant of the law thought it sounded a great idea, or at least the sentiment behind it.

If the current bill as proposed is no good, what do you think is the way to go on this, or is no further action required?

Personally I don't see why we should accept the current position whereby MP's are virtually unaccountable but trot out the 'well you get the chance to vote us out at election time' line as a catch all response when caught telling porkies.

*awaits enlightenment..*
Had no idea it was on the telly. I caught it on the daily emailed bulletins I get from Parliament (I know, I am a sad 'git' and need to get out more!).

There is nothing wrong with the sentiment behind the bill, and I would entertain but little doubt that it will be 'spun' for all it is worth on the trumpet of 'restoring faith and trust'.

But if you look at the way it is drafted, it's effect is to operate totally one-sided. An investigative reporter may be found guilty under clause 2 of 'knowingly' making a false statement and receive a fine. Whereas, the defence available to the impeached representative under clause 1 amounts to repeating or transmitting verbatim and in good faith, anything he is told by party HQ.

Whereas the reporter receives an instant sanction through the court, then even if an MP is, in the unlikely event brought there, his sanction takes place at the end of his term in office when the public would have forgotton all about his (or at least his party's) transgression!

All it achieves is to drag the courts into the political arena where they have no place.

Once again with this government, it is all form and no substance.

I look forward to hearing the Parliamentary debates on this one!
Iolis said:
Once again with this government, it is all form and no substance.
But it's not a Government Bill, it's a Private Member's. One of the Plaid chaps who kicked up a stink over cash for honours, I think.

EDIT: just checked and I was half right; Adam Price MP: made his name trying to impeach Blair over Iraq, not cash for honours. All these scandals tend to blur a bit with this government...

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