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Corruption in Politics

political corruption in the UK

A recent report on UK corruption by Transparency International UK (TI-UK) revealed that the British public perceive political parties to be the most corrupt sector in the UK, and parliament to be the third most corrupt.

Historically, the UK’s parliament has had a high international reputation, and the UK has been well placed on international corruption indices.  However, politics in the UK has recently been plagued by corruption scandals and public trust in politicians is plunging.  There have been too many scandals, often because of a lack of transparency and accountability.
These scandals have exposed serious fault lines in the UK political system, raising particular concerns about:  
  • The regime for parliamentary expenses;
  • Lobbying of politicians by those who can apparently buy access that influences legislation, spending priorities or policy decisions;
  • The revolving door between government and business;  
  • Political party funding; and 
  • Oversight regimes
Each of these is addressed in the Transparency International UK (TI-UK) policy paper on politics, with the exception of the Revolving Door, which is addressed in a separate TI-UK paper. 
Whatever the causes, it is not possible to ignore the fact that the steady stream of political corruption scandals in recent years has eroded public confidence not just in individual politicians, but also in political institutions.  There is a danger that the public will cease to regard decisions made by government and parliament as legitimate and fair.  This represents a serious threat to British democracy and, ultimately, to the rule of law.