Downward spiral

Collapsing public standards and how to restore them

Author:
John Bowers
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The Johnson era will be remembered for a series of scandals that severely eroded trust in the British government. In this book, the author presents a fearless examination of the decline in ethical standards before, during and after the Johnson government. He focuses on the institutions responsible for holding the government accountable, exposing how they have been bypassed by prime ministers determined to impose their agenda. Through interviews with political insiders, the author provides analysis of scandals such as partygate, Greensill and the revolving door with the private sector. He shines a light on a culture of favouritism, where standards are upheld based on little more than the assumption those in power can be trusted to behave. The decline in public standards is happening despite the existence of a complex, reasonably well-staffed and wide-ranging web of committees and structures that act as guardians. There is a confusing patchwork of such bodies. The author also reviews in particular the work of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, the National Audit Office, the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, the Commissioner for Public Appointments, the Civil Service Commission, the Independent Adviser on Ministers’ Interests, the Electoral Commission, the House of Lords Appointments Commission and the Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists.

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