Parliament Matters

William Wragg's honeytrap crisis and is Speaker Hoyle under threat?

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Episode notes

This week we are joined by former House of Commons Clerk, Paul Evans, to discuss William Wragg’s fall from grace following a ‘honeytrap sting’. What does it tell us about the vulnerabilities public officials face in the digital age, and the complex interplay between personal conduct and public service?

Numerous press reports suggest the Government may support another cross-party attempt to refer the conduct of the Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP and the Labour Leader, Sir Keir Starmer MP, to the Privileges Committee over claims of improper coercion before the Opposition Day debate on Gaza last month. Could the Speaker survive an investigation into his conduct and how would the process work?

Fresh evidence has come to light suggesting Paula Vennells, former Chief Executive of the Post Office, may have knowingly misled MPs when she appeared before Select Committees looking into events at the company. Liam Byrne MP, Chair of the Business and Trade Select Committee, says he’s exploring all the options available to investigate and if necessary sanction her. But what are the options available?

Northern Ireland has experienced a political earthquake with the news that DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson MP has been charged with historical sexual offences. But what does the news mean for Westminster where the debate about how to manage such situations – balancing the rights of the accused with the safety of the parliamentary community – remains unresolved.

And we ask 'where have all the All Party Parliamentary Groups gone'? New research by MySociety shows that in the last month there has been a 39% reduction in the number of APPGs following changes in the registration rules designed to enhance transparency and accountability. Have the APPGs really stopped working or have they, as investigative journalist Peter Geoghegan suggests, just been rebadged as informal parliamentary liaison groups?

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Parliament Matters is a Hansard Society production supported by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust

Producer: Richard Townsend

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