It is becoming more important than ever for politicians not only to be ethical, but to be seen to be ethical. Too often, the impression is given that a primary reason for going into politics is to get your snout in the trough. It's not like that for 99% of people but the 1% tarnish the others with their unacceptable behaviour.
Similarly, the way government behaves needs to change. David Cameron has today submitted some proposals to Ken Clarke's Democracy Task Force giving a clear indication of how a Cameron-led government would behave. He has asked for plans to be fleshed out on a series of policies...
* Reversing the trend towards Tony Blair’s Presidential-style "Department of the Prime Minister".
* Creating an independent mechanism to investigate breaches of the Ministerial Code.
* Introducing tighter caps on the number of paid and unpaid ministers and a statutory limit on the number of special advisers.
* Ending the practice of MPs setting their own salaries.
* Considering a reduction in the size of the House of Commons.
* Passing a Civil Service Act to re-establish and entrench the independence of the Civil Service.
I think this a really crucial area all politicians have to concern themselves with. At the last election I issued a ten point pledge of integrity - essentially a code of conduct by which the electorate could judge me. I felt I had to do that, not because anyone had criticised my own conduct in the past, but because people tarred all politicians with the same brush. I even had people in my own Party (particularly a couple of MPs) taking me to task over it. I'd like to think that wouldn't happen now.
The full document (PDF) can be downloaded HERE.