Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday (21 April) Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones said: “
“When there are questions about the conduct of any Member in this place, it is right for the Committee of Privileges to take a look at that case. It is right for it to investigate, it is right for it to make a judgment and it is right for that to happen whoever the Member is. That is the correct procedure for our House, and has been the case for a significant time. If any matters of privilege come to the House for a decision to trigger an investigation, it is right for that to happen. I support privileges investigations. It is our due process.
“I want to see more focus on standards across Parliament. Since I became a Member of Parliament, seven – I think – current or former Labour MPs have been given a custodial sentence, as have one Conservative Member, one Liberal Democrat Member and one SNP Member. One political party is having its accounts investigated by the police. The hon. Member for Rhondda (Chris Bryant) gave a very good speech in which he detailed suspensions and other issues that have happened because of bullying or harassment. Given all that, it is hard to argue that there are no problems with standards in our politics. Higher standards would benefit all parliamentarians.
“Let me comment on my support for the privileges investigations. Those investigations require facts and evidence. The motion and the amendment both recognise that and state that the police must conclude their inquiries before a Privileges Committee investigation. I had hoped that some consensus might break out on that across the Chamber, because that is obviously fair and right. The amendment also stated that the Gray report should be published before an inquiry takes place. The Committee must have all the evidence on any issue that it investigates.
“I have called for the Gray report to be published in full and as soon as possible. That is still my view. I recognise that the Met needs time and space to complete its work, but every effort must be made to bring this matter to a conclusion as fast as possible. Colleagues are making comments when we have not seen all the evidence. I can understand that, because I have done so, too, but the Privileges Committee must be allowed time and space to conclude its investigation and colleagues should not prejudge that.
“In summary, the Privileges Committee does valuable work in upholding standards, and there is a problem with standards in our politics. The Committee’s work is evidence-based, which is why we should have the evidence published first. I want to see that evidence published fully, as soon as possible, because, frankly, upholding standards benefits absolutely everyone.”