MISCONDUCT IN PUBLIC OFFICE

House of Commons Case Study

This Case Study follows on from the MP Case Study

The Constituent is now conversing with the House of Commons.

Dates of House of Commons emails: 06.10.2020, 30.01.2021, 08.01.2021 (x2), 11.01.2021, 12.01.2021 (x3).

In this document the original Case Reference Number is replaced by the code PN1984.

[IMPN] is short for insert MP name.

From: [Constituent]

Sent: 06 January 2021 20:52

To: [House of Commons Correspondence Team]

Subject: HR Complaint! (Your Ref: PN1984)

 

Dear HR Team

 

My name is [Constituent], I write to register an HR Complaint as a concerned member of the public.

 

The complaint is against [IMPN], MP – [Local Area Name] (& their team).

 

My reading of their handling of the PN1984 concern (that is detailed in the attached 31-page document of PN1984 emails), is that IMPN possibly has a conflict-of-interest that they have failed to declare. The alternative to that is to say that IMPN has some serious comprehension problems (for the attention of HR) that are negatively affecting his performance of his duties.

 

May you please forward this HR submission to the appropriate office for investigation.

 

 

Yours Sincerely

[Constituent]

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Ref: PCS1695

From: Standards Commissioner <standardscommissioner@parliament.uk>

To: [Constituent]

Date: 8 January 2021, 16:06

 

Dear [Constituent],

 

Thank you for your email, which has been passed onto my team for a response.

 

I realise that this will not be the answer you were hoping for but there is no organisation or individual tasked with investigating complaints about how MPs handle issues brought to them by their constituents.

 

The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards may investigate allegations that MPs have broken the rules that apply to them because of their membership of the House of Commons. These rules are known as the rules of conduct and they are found in Section V. paragraphs 11-18 of the House of Commons’ Code of Conduct for Members.

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmcode/1474/147401.htm

 

As you can see those rules do not set “service standards” or specify the details of how MPs should conduct their constituency work. It is for each of the 650 MPs to decide for themselves which constituency issues they will or will not respond to, and whether to reply to correspondence. I am afraid that the Rules therefore do not extend the power to the Commissioner to direct an MP to write to the police on behalf of a constituent.

 

The Commissioner could only investigate a complaint about an MP’s handling of an issue or problem raised by a constituent, where one of the eight rules of conduct might have been broken.

[insertion]

# The eight rules being  Section V. paragraphs 11-18 of the House of Commons’ Code of Conduct for Members.

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmcode/1474/147401.htm

I understand this is not the reply you were seeking but I hope that this information is useful to you. You can find out more information about the Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards here.

https://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/standards-and-financial-interests/parliamentary-commissioner-for-standards/

 

I wish you all the best.

 

Kind regards,

□□□□ □□

Office Manager

Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards

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Ref PCS1695 Private & Confidential

From: Constituent To: Standards Commissioner

Date: 8 January 2021, 18:21

 

Dear Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards

 

I hereby acknowledge receipt of your PCS1695 email of 8 January 2021, 16:06hrs.

 

Like all other Public Officials, MPs have a fiduciary duty to act in the interests of the members of the members of the public whom they represent.

 

I followed the link that you supplied me, and can see that the 7 Principles of Public Life are included there.

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmcode/1474/147401.htm

Measured against those standards, my MP is failing dismally. An easy one is on the score of honesty. My MP is clearly being dishonest. He breaks the Code of Conduct in other ways besides. (and where is the courtesy in failing to write back to a Constituent who writes to you? Writing back is a common courtesy. If you are a Public Official, it is a necessity-see Duty 18. Public Officials have a fiduciary duty to serve members of the public!)  

 

A ‘representative’, by definition, represents someone. For the MP to represent the concerns of some constituents but not others, would be discrimination, the same applies if the MP writes back to (or on behalf of) some Constituents but not to others.

 

Where there is a working relationship, there is a contract. Whether express or implied, a contract is a contract – and contracts come with contractual obligations. (The simple contract being that the voting public give the MP their power on the condition that the MP represents and acts for ALL his constituents, without discrimination. The MP cannot pick-and-choose who to represent, he is contracted to act on the concerns of ALL his individual constituents. Any concern that is brought to him must be acted upon).

 

My MP has failed to fulfil his end of the bargain, and has violated the Code of Conduct.

 

If no contract exists between the Constituent and the MP, then Rule-of-Law does not exist.

 

I need to enforce the contract that very clearly exists, that is why I bring this case to the office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. To say that no contract exists is to say that Rule-of-Law does not exist!

 

If a contract exists, it must be enforceable. The office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards exists specifically for the purpose of taking Members who violate the Code of Conduct, to task for any misfeasance, malfeasance, and nonfeasance that they engage themselves in.

 

Just by my quick reading of the Code of Conduct, I can see many breaches (and I am sure there are more besides; this MP discredits The House):

*Duties 5, 6 & 7 under Section III

*Among the Principles of Public Life: Objectivity, Openness, Honesty, and Leadership

*Rules 17 & 18 under Section V

 

According to Duty No. 5 (Section III), the only way that this MP’s PN1984 behaviour can ever be deemed to be acceptable is if suchkind is what the Committee expects of all House Members in their dealings with their Constituents.

 

The MP is involved in lawmaking, and he is involved in working with the Police. If the Police are going to refuse to enforce these laws with the MP’s clear blessing like this, why is the House even bothering to make the laws? We might as well not have a Parliament!

 

Rule 17 says: ‘Members shall never undertake any action which would cause significant damage to the reputation and integrity of the House of Commons as a whole, or of its Members generally.’

 

If the Police are going to ignore when the laws created by Parliament are breached, the MP sees what they are doing, does nothing to request them to uphold and enforce the law, choosing rather to go on record as having been helping the Police in their efforts… Where is Rule of Law?

 

This is a  serious matter that affects ‘the reputation and integrity of the House of Commons as a whole’.

 

If it is only me that the MP did this kind of case handling to, according to Duties 5 & 6, I was discriminated against, and the MP is going to need to explain to the Committee why that happened.

 

My MP’s behaviour is wrong on many many levels. This PCS1695 complaint asks the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards to please investigate.

 

I look forward to hearing back from you in due course.

 

Yours Sincerely

[Constituent]

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Ref: PCS1695 (2)

From: Standards Commissioner <standardscommissioner@parliament.uk>

To: [Constituent]

Date: 11 January 2021, 10:04

Dear [Constituent],

 

Thank you for your reply. I understand why you are disappointed to learn that this complaint isn’t something the Commissioner can deal with. The Commissioner cannot investigate matters which fall outside her remit, however strongly others might wish her to do so.

 

Although the Code of Conduct references the Nolan Principles, the preceding sections of the Code of Conduct; Section I, Purpose of the Code; II Scope of the Code; III Duties of Members; IV General Principles, are all designed to help frame the Rules of Conduct that subsequently appear in Section V. Rules. Further information regarding the Commissioner’s remit is found in paragraph 20 where it says, “The Commissioner may investigate a specific matter relating to a Member’s adherence to the rules of conduct under the Code”.

 

An MP can choose to help constituents but will not feel able to support every cause, nor will they be able to get the desired solution to every individual problem. Again, I must stress that the Rules of Conduct do not extend the power to the Commissioner to direct an MP to reply to correspondence or the content of any such reply. I can see from the attachments on your original email that IMNP’s office staff have been corresponding with you on this matter and repeatedly stated that they are unable to help and “advise that you seek legal representation’  instead.

 

The Commissioner may investigate allegations that paragraph 17 has been breached if the MP’s conduct would “cause significant damage to the reputation and integrity of the House of Commons as a whole, or of its Members generally”. As you will appreciate, that sets a high bar; first the MP’s actions must cause “significant” damage and, secondly, any such damage must impact more widely than on the reputation and integrity of the MP(s) involved.

 

The Commissioner cannot decide if an individual has been unlawfully discriminated against nor can she decide whether an MP’s underlying views and are discriminatory. MPs are not under an obligation to act on every request that they receive; they are able to decide which to pursue and which they will not, and the Commissioner cannot question the merits of those decisions.

 

I appreciate that you would very much like your MP to take up your concerns, but this is not something in which the Commissioner could intervene.

 

Kind regards,

□□□□ □□

Office Manager

Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards

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From: [Constituent] To: [Direct inbox of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards]

Sent: 12 January 2021 08:35

Subject: Code of Conduct Complaint! (Your Ref: PCS1695)

 

Dear Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards

 

My name is [Constituent], I am a member of the public.

 

I have been corresponding with your Office Manager regarding a Code of Conduct Complaint against IMPN , MP-[Local Area Name] (Your Ref: PCS1695).

 

I am bringing the matter to your personal attention in the detailed 3-page letter dated 12.01.2021 that is attached to this email. (The other documents attached to this email are referenced from that main one).  

 

Please read through the 12.01.2021 letter and get back to me.

 

Yours Sincerely

[Constituent]

12.01.2021 Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards

 

I make reference to the House of Commons’ Code of Conduct for Members that is available here.

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmcode/1474/147401.htm

 

My name is [Constituent], I write to register a Formal Complaint against IMPN, MP for □□□□□□ & their team.

 

I allege that in their handling of my PN1984 submissions, IMPN and his team have acted in a manner that goes against the Seven Principles of Public Life established by Lord Nolan and the Committee on Standards in Public Life.

 

Measured against those standards and principles, my MP is failing dismally. An easy one is on the score of honesty. My MP is clearly being dishonest. IMPN breaks the Code of Conduct in other ways besides. (and where is the courtesy in failing to write back to a Constituent who writes to you? Writing back is a common courtesy. If you are a Public Official, it is a necessity – see Duty 18. Public Officials have a fiduciary duty to serve members of the public!)

 

Among the Principles of Public Life: Objectivity, Openness, Honesty, and Leadership; have clearly been breached.

 

From a Common Law perspective: Is what is exhibited in those PN1984 emails the kind of behaviour that Members of the Public are to expect when they vote their MP into office?

 

If it is only me that the MP did this kind of case handling to, then, I am being discriminated against.

 

Like all other Public Officials, MPs have a fiduciary duty to act in the interests of the members of the public whom they represent.

 

Is not the House of Commons also called the House of Representatives?

 

A ‘representative’, by definition, represents another person. It’s a contract.

It is this contract that empowers the government to rule over the people.

A legitimate government rules on the basis of an agreed contract.

Anywhere where there is a working relationship, there exists a contract.

If a meeting-of-minds is not demonstrable, there is no contract.

A contract is a contract, express or implied – and contracts come with contractual obligations.

 

The MP contract is built on the baseline that we are all human beings and we are all equal.

 

The voting public give the MP their power on the condition that the MP represents and acts for ALL his constituents, without discrimination. The MP is not empowered to pick-and-choose who to represent, he/she is contracted to act on the concerns of ALL their individual constituents. Any and every concern that is brought to him/her must therefore be acted upon.

 

For the MP assigned to the constituency in which I reside (I would normally refer to this person simply as “my MP”), to represent the concerns of some constituents but not others, would be discrimination, the same applies if the MP writes back to (or on behalf of) some Constituents but not to others.

 

As with all contracts, representation requires that there be a meeting of minds between competent persons. When the MP puts himself up for election, he is saying “I am willing to serve you, please put your trust in me” (if this is not his genuine desire, he commits fraud). The majority vote says: “We are going to trust you, here’s our power”. If for any reason the MP decides that he no longer is willing to serve, the people cannot force him to remain in office. Likewise if the people for any reason decide that they no longer wish for the MP to represent them, (i.e. he loses their confidence), the MP will have to leave office.

 

From my reading of the PN1984 interactions detailed in the attached 28-page document of PN1984 emails, it is clear that IMPN is not willing to help the constituent in question. The meeting-of-minds just isn’t there. The MP wants the benefits that come with the office, but is unwilling to do the work that comes with it. By continuing to accept Parliamentary benefits/allowances/remuneration for representing his constituents while doing the opposite (refusing to fulfil his end of the bargain when called upon to do so by the constituent in this Case Study), the MP is guilty of receiving payment for services non-rendered (aka. theft).

 

In PN1984 there was no manpower/time/other resource constraint; IMPN was occupying the position responsible for helping the Constituent but he demonstrated beyond-reasonable-doubt that giving the constituent actual and effective help was the last thing he wanted to do. He chose to pervert the course of justice. How are we going to know how many other constituents have been so misserved unless an investigation is conducted? And if it happens that it was just this one Constituent that IMPN gave ‘the treatment’ to, does that make it okay? What % of a given MP’s Constituents is entitled to access justice?  

 

Wider Implications

“If you undermine or subvert the rule of law in the belief that by so doing you will protect your regime or system of government; you will ultimately prove to be the destroyer of all that you seek to preserve.”      

— The Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC

It didn’t take 650 icebergs to sink the Titanic, it took just one. This one PCS1695 Case Study illustrates that separation-of-powers is totally absent. It illustrates also that the Government is unable to protect the Civil Rights and Liberties of the citizenry when called upon to do so.

 

If the Police are going to turn a blind eye and/or do a cover-up when the laws created by Parliament are breached, the MP sees what they are doing, refuses to request them to uphold and enforce the law, choosing rather to go on record as having been helping the Police in their (malfeasance/misfeasance/nonfeasance?) efforts… Where is Rule of Law? If the laws made by Parliament are not necessarily going to be enforced by the Police, both institutions are clearly redundant.

 

If the record shows that this misconduct was brought to the attention of the House of Commons and nothing was done to rebuke IMPN, the reputation and integrity of the House as a whole is affected. Is the House setting a precedent in its attitude to the IMPN misconduct, or is the IMPN behaviour just the tip of the iceberg?

 

My reading of his handling of the PN1984 concern (that is detailed here), is that IMPN possibly has a conflict-of-interest that they have failed to declare, or they have some serious comprehension problems that are negatively affecting them in the performance of their duties.

Whichever option is true, IMPN cannot remain in office – and a (speedy but thorough) investigation is most certainly in order.

 

I look forward to hearing back from you in due course.

 

 

Yours Sincerely

[Constituent]

12.01.2021

I acknowledge receipt of your email of 11 January 2021, 10:04hrs that was sent by Office Manager □□□□ □□ using <standardscommissioner@parliament.uk> Please write back to me in response to this my letter of 11.01.2021, even if only to say I have nothing to add to the official statement provided you in email of 11 January 2021, 10:04hrs (Our Ref: PCS1695). 

Email of 12 January 2021, 08:35hrs ends here.

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Ref: PCS1695 (3)

On Tuesday, 12 January 2021, 10:45hrs Standards Commissioner <standardscommissioner@parliament.uk> wrote:

Dear [Constituent]

 

Thank you for your further email to the Commissioner, I have been asked to respond.

 

As I have explained in my previous emails, the matter which you have presented to the Commissioner is not within her remit. The Commissioner will not reply substantively to emails about matters outside her remit.

 

We wish you all the best.

 

Kind regards,

□□□□ □□

Office Manager

Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

On Tuesday, 12 January 2021, 14:45hrs [Constituent] wrote:

Dear Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards

 

I hereby acknowledge receipt of your emails of 11 January 2021, 10:04 and 12 January 2021, 10:45hrs.

 

Yours Sincerely

[Constituent]

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