Letter: Codes can't cure sleaze disease

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Sir: I am amazed that during all the recent public debate concerning the declaration of MPs' interests, while there has been much talk of 'codes of conduct' and the necessity for stricter and more clear-cut regulation, little mention has been made of the fact, surely self-evident, that a man who cannot perceive that it is wrong to take money for representing private interests when he is being paid to be the democratically elected representative of his constituents and who is willing to sell what is not his (namely, parliamentary question time), is not fit to hold his office. He condemns himself by the very words with which he attempts to justify his actions.

Creating yet more 'guidelines' and tightening up the regulations so that 'creative' interpretation of their small print is no longer possible not only treats the symptom rather than the disease, but is an eloquent comment on the moral attitudes prevalent in a section of society that is so quick to condemn the same attitudes in those who have had fewer advantages.

Yours faithfully, B. E. FAHY Shirley, Hampshire 24 October