Lord Anderson moots offence of ‘corruption in public life’

Lord Anderson moots offence of 'corruption in public life'

The former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation Lord Anderson has called for tighter rules on political lobbying.

In a new interview with the lord speaker, Lord Anderson of Ipswich called for a new offence to be created to tackle corruption in public life.

He also highlighted his concerns for standards, saying: “You have an independent adviser on ministerial interests who cannot initiate an investigation on their own initiative. They need to have the consent of the prime minister before they can do that.

“Well, if the investigation was going to be into the prime minister or someone who’s politically close to the prime minister, it’s hard to see how that is acceptable. I think we need a tightening of the rules on lobbying, perhaps an offence of corruption in public life.”

Lord Anderson served as the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation from 2011-2017 and was appointed to be a crossbench ‘people’s peer’ in 2018. His paper A Question of Trust, which examined balancing the demands of security with the right to privacy, paved the way for the introduction of the Investigatory Powers Act 2016.

In the wide-ranging interview with Lord McFall of Alcluith, he discusses how he advised the government on the need for change in Britain’s security services following the London and Manchester terrorist attacks of 2017, arguing for more cooperation with private entities.

He said: “if you are going to be effective, for example in stopping people from buying bomb-making ingredients online, you’re going to need collaboration from big private companies as well, online marketplaces or online sellers and so on.”

He also highlighted the need for police forces to “crack data handling”, saying: “It’s a perennial problem. I think it’s partly about money, but it’s not just about money. And in a world which increasingly happens online, and in which crime also increasingly happens online, it’s great to have neighbourhood police officers on the corner of the street, but you also need them on the internet to combat the online fraud and all the other interferences that we’re seeing.”

On the role of the House of Lords, he said: “Second chambers mean second thoughts, and if you like evidence based policy making, you like them…if something has been rashly inserted into a bill as it goes through the Commons, we can take time to sort it out” However, he also warned that “political cronyism has to stop.”

Lord Anderson also shares stories from his father’s time teaching at Gordonstoun, Fettes, Eton and Lincoln College Oxford, where he helped to educate King Charles III, Tony Blair, Boris Johnson, David Cameron and Rishi Sunak.

His father, Eric Anderson, directed the young Prince of Wales in a production of Macbeth, which Lord Anderson described as a “great success”. He also directed Tony Blair in the part of Mark Antony in Julius Caesar, predicting a brilliant career for him – on the stage.

Watch the interview here.

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