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14 December 2005

Barrett demands an end to Government excuses on corruption convention

John Barrett, Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West and member of the International Development Select Committee, today demanded the government explain its failure to ratify the UN Convention Against Corruption which comes into force today (14th December).

The UK government had previously promised to be among the first 30 countries to sign up; however 38 countries have already ratified the convention. So far, only one G8 member has done so.

Speaking from Westminster, John Barrett said:

“Since I was elected as an MP, I have witnessed first-hand the debilitating effect of corruption in many countries throughout the developing world. For the UK government to drag its heels on something as important as this convention, is nothing short of scandalous

“This government has had two years to complete ratification but has made one excuse after another. Failure to ratify the Convention before it comes into effect is an embarrassment for Ministers

“As holder of both the EU and G8 presidencies this year, we have been given a unique opportunity to lead the fight against international corruption. Unfortunately, it seems that this is yet another opportunity the government has squandered.

“What right do we have to preach to others about good governance when we have not yet demonstrated our commitment to support anti-corruption practices. I will continue to call on the government to stop making excuses and ratify the Convention immediately.”

Notes

1. The UN Convention Against Corruption has been ratified by 38 countries. The Convention was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 31 October 2003 and will come into force on 14th December.

More information on the Convention, including details on signatories and which countries have now ratified it.

2. Baroness Crawley told the House of Lords, "We want the UK to be among the first 30 ratifying countries." Lords Hansard, 6 July 2004, column 663

3. A Home Office press release from 9th December 2003 stated, "We encourage all states to lose no time in ratifying and implementing this new Convention in as short a time frame as possible. The earlier states ratify, the earlier the Convention can come into force. In the UK we will give this the high priority it deserves."

4. Government Minister Baroness Scotland responded to Liberal Democrat Peer, Lord Avebury, in January this year by saying:
" We hope to bring the necessary orders into force by the end of the year."
(Lords Hansard, 20 January 2005, Column WA123)

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This website was established while I was a Member of Parliament. The site content is being kept online as a source of information, but all forms / email have been disabled.