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By Maureen Mancuso

The moral criteria of the British residence of Commons count nearly solely upon the non-public ethics of its person participants. Parliament expects that its individuals, as holders of a public belief, should be "honourable participants" in either identify and deed. Maureen Mancuso examines the present country of British legislative ethics and increases theoretical questions on no matter if the moral criteria of an establishment should still count solely at the own ethics of person MPs. in keeping with broad own interviews with greater than a hundred MPs, this research of legislative ethics takes a systematic technique. the writer identifies major divergence in moral attitudes and divides MPs into 4 varieties: the Puritans - who stake out the ethical excessive floor; the Servants - who use their place to learn their ingredients, now not themselves; the Muddlers - who're no longer through own conflicts of curiosity; and the marketers - who use their place to accomplish any finish now not explicitly prohibited. the consequences of this varied moral environment are explored, in addition to a number of probabilities for reform.

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The interview schedule (fully reproduced in the appendix) was divided into four sections. The first contained a series of open-ended questions on a broad range of ethical issues. These questions were designed not only to ease the respondent into the topic, but also to obtain a general sense of the member's attitudes to serve as a context for the more specific questions of later sections. In addition, by beginning the interview with broad generalities - questions on which every MP has an opinion, but rarely an opportunity to express it - the respondents were encouraged to "open up" and relax.

Members who evaluated the act as corrupt also objected to someone other than the member or constituency party paying the salary of a research assistant. They felt that only assistants paid by the member directly out of the staff allowance should be entitled to Westminster passes, not those who are funded by interested, outside organizations. The Select Committee on Members' Interests thought this practice to be worrisome enough to merit study. " Members who justified the granting of a research pass to assistants whose salaries did not come out of their own budget did so by claiming that salaries and allowances had to be supplemented in some fashion.

Because the acceptance of a retainer, and the terms on which it is accepted - what the member will do in exchange for his remuneration - are entirely up to the individual MP, proper discretion is paramount. The confusion and multiplicity of roles that an MP must play hampers the exercise of discretion by those who would do right and masks abuse of discretion by those who would do wrong. Because of the importance of individual discretion in the ethical process, the attitudes and perceptions of MPS become of crucial interest to those who seek to understand British legislative ethics.

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