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Political Lies and the gap in the current system

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posted on Sep, 4 2007 @ 07:14 AM
I've just discovered that there isn't a law in the UK to prosecute politicians who knowingly deceive the public. Thus, the public entrusts politicians with the responsibility of upholding a 'just' political system, and yet politicians are able to abuse this trust because they face no consequences if they lie. Thoughts?

posted on Sep, 4 2007 @ 10:37 AM
The thing about this issue is what's a lie, what's accidental deception and what counts as a point of view?

Was the Iraq dossier an outright lie, or was it faulty intelligence? When an MP stands up and accuses another party of something that perhaps isn't quite true, is that a point of view and therefore acceptable (after all, democracy involved listening to other peoples' points of view) or is it a lie because it isn't a hundred per cent truthful?

How do you define a 'lie'? Obviously, some things can be simple outright lies (for instance, if an MP says they didn't know something when they actually did). But the truth isn't black and white - it's very, very grey and thus depends a lot about your personal interpretation of things.

For the record, if you're caught lying to the House/a Select Committee or similar, there are few other choices but to resign. What you say outside of Parliament is a different matter, really, since it might not technically be in an official capacity (and let's face it, we all lie now and again) and politicians have as much right to say what they like as any other person in the UK.

posted on Sep, 5 2007 @ 11:22 AM
It's an interesting point pollock, but would we want long and drawn out court cases and investigations in to every case of suspected lying by a politician, and lets face it, if we had this law, it would be used for party politicial purposes and not to get to the truth.

Just look at the end of the Clinton presidency, and the attempts to empeach him and the Ken Starr investigation. It diverted attention away from the real issues.

Interesting, when an MP speaks in the chamber, they are covered by parlimentary privilege which if I understand it correctly, means that can say what they want about me in the chamber and if it is an outright lie, I can not take legal action against them.

Ste2652 is spot on that the House does enforce punishment if a member has broken the rules of the house so to speak, frequently this is a suspension of the rights and privilege of being an MP, and I think George Galway was recently suspended from the house.

Who was the last MP to resign because they were caught lying to the house? None spring to mind.

I certainly do not think that MPs and I believes Lords should be covered by this parliamentary privilege. When they speak in the house, they should be subject to the same laws as any other citizen.

And the ultimate consequence........we don't vote for them next time and they slip off the parliementary gravy train.

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