MPs will have to agree to a legally binding code of conduct as part of a plan to “stop them stealing all the time”, Gordon Brown has told reporters.
The new code of conduct could be written into the Constitutional Renewal Bill, due to be brought before Parliament later this year, and would include every conceivable definition of the word ‘thievery’.
“If we have learned just one lesson from this whole sorry affair, it is that if it is at all possible, an MP will deliberately misinterpret a rule for their own financial gain,” said a Whitehall source.
“We realise that we have to be crystal clear and extremely repetitive about all the thieving being a bad thing.”
“There is a paragraph on every page essentially reinforcing the point that theft is bad, and that they shouldn’t do it. At all.”
“We have set out very clear rules on thievery, stealing, larceny, misappropriation, embezzlement, peculation and defalcation.”
“It could be many, many weeks before one of them finds a loophole.”
Those drafting the new code of conduct are keen to ensure it has elements of carrot to encourage better behaviour, and not just threats of a massive stick with a prison at the end of it.
“For every week that goes by when an MP doesn’t steal anything from the taxpayer, they will get a gold star.”
“Ten gold stars gets you a T-Shirt saying, ‘I’m one of the good guys!’ in bright gold lettering.”
“We genuinely hope that after sitting a four-year term most MPs will have earned a t-shirt.”