Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner
for Standards from Mr I M Davis
I am afraid that I do not know whether you accept
comments from members of the general public. I can only trust
that you do.
My concern relates to the reports in the pressand
in the Daily Telegraph in particularthat Members of Parliament
had placed bets on the outcome of the recent election of the Speaker.
Under the rules governing their respective games
neither footballers nor cricketers are allowed to bet on matches.
Presumably this is to avoid match fixing. An extension of this
argument would seem to lead to the conclusion that Members of
Parliament who will be involved in voting on a specific issue
should not be allowed to bet on the outcome of that vote.
The very worst case scenario is that a number of
them will collude in order to profit from their bets. The very
best that can be said is that, because they have risked money
on a certain result being produced, they will be totally deaf
to any debate or argument that might run counter to this. Either
way democracy is certainly not being served.
If it is proved that such betting has taken place
then there may be a justification for reviewing the result of
this vote. In any case, the acceptability of such betting within
the context of Parliamentary Standards does seem to require some
I can only say that, in my opinion as a member of
the voting public, it is thoroughly bad practice and this incident
has damaged the reputation of the House of Commons.
27 October 2000