LibLink: Martin Thomas invokes the Bribery Act…

The noble and learned Lord Thomas of Gresford, QC, waded into the debate on “Government investments in communities where Labour MPs might be willing to support the Government” in a letter to The Times on Saturday.

PORK-BARREL BRIBES

Sir, The offer of cash subsidies to an MP for the benefit of his or her constituents provided the MP votes for the government’s withdrawal agreement is a breach of section 1 of the Bribery Act 2010 (“May woos Labour MPs with cash to back Brexit”, Jan 31, and letters, Feb 1). The MP party to such an agreement is in breach of Section 2. A minister who gives a financial or political advantage to an MP intending to bring about the improper performance of his or her duty to vote in good faith, impartially or in accordance with a position of trust, breaches Section 1. Receiving the advantage intending to act improperly breaches Section 2.

In deciding whether the casting of a vote has been performed improperly, the test of what is expected is a test of what a reasonable person in the UK would expect in relation to the performance of that public duty. If the government discriminated in favour of one deprived area against another on the basis of the vote cast by its MP, no reasonable jury would conclude in its favour. Pork-barrelling is a euphemism for corruption. It may be ingrained in the US, but the Bribery Act kills it in the UK. Another brief for the attorney general.

Lord Thomas of Gresford, QC
House of Lords

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4 Comments

  • ……………. If the government discriminated in favour of one deprived area against another on the basis of the vote cast by its MP, no reasonable jury would conclude in its favour. …………

    Three letters, D.U.P.

  • Andrew Toye 4th Feb '19 - 2:40pm

    By this reasoning, any political deal or pact could be ruled unlawful (including the 2010 coalition agreement). However Parliament is subject to various privileges and immunities so government business can proceed without constant legal challenges. Local government is no so fortunate, so we should be very careful where this all leads.

  • Jayne Mansfield 4th Feb '19 - 9:46pm

    The scandalous fact is that in 2016 the government denied that they had entered into any special deal with Nissan.

  • OnceALibDem 6th Feb '19 - 8:52am

    Not sure he wants to go there. I’m not sure the way LIb Dem MPs in the coalition got funding for particular schemes in their constituencies – IIRC Danny Alexander was praised on here for how he had ‘delivered for Inverness’ and he wasn’t the only one by any means – would stand up to similar scrutiny.

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