The era of sleaze and cash for questions
John Major’s government became tarnished with allegation and incidents of ‘sleaze’. One of these happened in 1994 when it became clear that some people within the Conservative party had agreed to put questions to Parliament in exchange for money. Two Conservative Members of Parliament, Neil Hamilton and Tim Smith, were accused by the Guardian Newspaper of taking money and accepting gifts (such as a stay in the Ritz) from Mohamed Al Fayed (then owner of Harrods), to make sure they asked certain questions in the House of Commons. It was said that Mr Ian Greer, a lobbyist, was their ‘middle-man’ shuttling the money and instructions between them.
2013 Patrick Mercer stepped down and declared he would not be standing at the next election after he was caught allegedly agreeing to lobby on behalf of a fake company working for the military dictatorship in Fiji.
The United Kingdom parliamentary expenses scandal was a major political scandal that emerged in 2009, concerning expenses claims made by members of the British Parliament in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords over the previous years. The disclosure of widespread misuse of allowances and expenses permitted to Members of Parliament (MPs) aroused widespread anger among the UK public and resulted in a large number of resignations, sackings, de-selections and retirement announcements together with public apologies and the repayment of expenses. Several members or former members of both the House of Commons, and members of the House of Lords, were prosecuted and sentenced to terms of imprisonment.