Granada Debate: Political parties should 'move quickly' to 'not drag out' scandals MP says

  • Scandals affecting politician was discussed in the latest of Granada Reports' monthly political programme, The Granada Debate

Political parties should "learn to move quickly" on scandals and "not drag it out for the public" so they do not lose confidence, one MP has said.

Barbara Keeley added if there was a "better balance of women and men parliament would not be the odd place it is", and urged those who believe they can do better than current MPs to get involved.

The Labour MP for Worsley and Eccles South made the comments as part of monthly political show The Granada Debate and said politicians were rightly "held to a higher standard".

"People are unhappy with it and they're quite right to be unhappy with it," she said.

"We are held to a higher standard and so we should be, you know we represent 70,000 people in our constituency, and that's a privilege and we should all reflect on that.

"I think that you know parties would be better to learn to move quickly on these things, and not drag it out for the public, because they will lose confidence in us.

"I agree that if anybody out there thinks they can do a better job, why don't you know get involved, and particularly we will say that you know if we all along if we had a better balance of women and men, you know the Parliament might not be the odd place it sort of is sometimes."

Several North West MPs from the Conservative and Labour parties have found themselves under the spotlight in recent months after allegations were brought to light.

Fylde's Conservative MP Mark Menzies lost the party whip, after The Times newspaper claimed he is under investigation for misusing thousands of pounds of campaign funds.

He faces allegations he made a late-night call to a 78-year-old aide asking for money because he had been locked up by “bad people” demanding thousands of pounds for his release. He denies the claims.

It also comes off the back of a so-called honeytrap scandal involving another North West MP William Wragg - which saw him hand back the Tory whip - at the beginning of April.

There is also a row over Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner's tax affairs after Greater Manchester Police re-opened an investigation into whether she broke electoral law over the sale of her council house.

Ms Rayner maintains she has done nothing wrong and says she will step down if she is found to have committed a crime.

A spokesperson said Angela Rayner is looking forward to sitting down with authorities to ‘draw a line under this matter’ Credit: Jordan Pettitt/PA

Ms Keeley was joined on The Granada Debate by Katherine Fletcher, Conservative MP for South Ribble, and Liberal Democrat candidate for Oldham and Saddleworth East, Sam Al-Hamdani.

Ms Fletcher agreed with her Labour counterpart and said she would help anyone who wanted to become involved in politics to "do a better job".

"We make the law, and we absolutely regardless of colour, creed or stripe have to make sure that we don't break the law," she said.

"There is an assumption that we're all the same, and so what I want everybody to listen to, is understand that we get held to a higher level of scrutiny - but also understand that many of us joined to do different things.

"I was 36 before I joined and I joined in part to try and change it, so if there's anybody that's thinking I can do a better job, get in touch and I will help you go on that journey.

"Ultimately serving your constituents and serving your community is a privilege, and you know you will need to be able to account for the right standards."

MPs Mark Menzies and William Wragg have both recently resigned the Conservative Party whip. Credit: PA Images

Mr Al-Hamdani urged those involved in politics, and outside of it, to treat "humans as humans".

He said: "There's a mix of people who see people doing things wrong and sometimes they see people not taking responsibility and that's really difficult.

"So there's a responsibility to take account of your actions and if you've done something wrong own up to that and do the right thing.

"But there's also a responsibility on the rest of politics not to attack people when it's unjustified, and to treat people as people.

"We're all politicians, but we're all people first and foremost and you have to be treated as humans.

"All too often politics is is becoming very sort of debased there's lots of assumptions about almost what colour rosette you wear makes you a bad person.

"It doesn't make you a bad person it just gives you an indication of what you believe. It's really important that people are prepared to stand up, whether for a party or not, and do the right thing, make a change and make this better."

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