Editorial: Like the French, our ministers should declare their assets

Hollande clearly calculated any likely embarrassment would be more than offset by the new transparency

So now French curiosity has been satisfied. The Prime Minister estimates his worth at €1.5m (£1.3m); the Foreign Minister has a €6m, largely inherited fortune of art and antiques, and the Finance Minister has barely €300,000 to his name. In ordering all his ministers to declare their assets, President Hollande clearly calculated that any embarrassing traces of champagne socialism would be more than offset if it prevented another Jérôme Cahuzac from keeping a Swiss bank account and lying about it.

What is sauce for the French goose, however, should be sauce for the British gander. Why shouldn’t our ministers, too, be required to declare their assets? Of course, some might prefer privacy to a red box, and others might risk being as economical with the vérité as Mr Cahuzac. But the glory of a public declaration is that, if it is subsequently proved false, the minister has no choice but to go. Where François Hollande has led, David Cameron should follow.

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