Code of Conduct – a manifesto for a better politics

Gaby Hinsliff in The Guardian:

It must be a while ago now since Chris Bryant has had to write a sermon. But the former curate turned Labour MP, middle-ranking minister and latterly chair of the parliamentary committee that helps determine the fate of MPs who have sinned, doesn’t seem to have lost the knack. His account of what is rotten in the state of politics is neither lofty – if anything Bryant goes out of his way to confess to what he sees as his own failings, including a tendency to be “impulsive, sanctimonious and pompous” – nor overmoralising, but remains gently steadfast in the belief that parliament in general and this one in particular has lost its way. Code of Conduct is an attempt to guide it back to something like the straight and narrow.

He is, of course, entering a crowded literary field. Almost half the publishing industry seems to have had a shot now at detailing how the Boris Johnson era descended into such squalor; the lies, the chaos, the unedifying scrabble around for someone else to pay for his interior designers, and the willingness to overlook all manner of dubious behaviour in his ministers and aides. Even more ink has been spilt on the way Brexit has twisted politics out of shape, with its litany of false promises setting up leave voters for inevitable disillusionment. The queasy charade that is the modern honours system or the culture of abuse and threats that puts good people off standing for parliament are equally well-worn subjects, and in that sense Bryant is comparatively late to the party. But he brings with him more than two decades’ experience as a parliamentarian, a nonpartisan approach that helps him look beyond the failings of individuals to the system itself, and a raft of often small but practical suggestions for cleaning out the stables.

More here.