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Councillors 'more truthful' than MPs

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The public feels local councillors are more likely to be truthful than local MPs, according to research carried out for Standards for England.

The research, which repeated questions asked previously in 2007, was carried out in June, at a time when press coverage about MPs’ expenses was hitting the headlines.

For local MPs, more people now think they ‘rarely or never’ tell the truth than think they are ‘always or mostly’ truthful.

While only 2% feel councillors ‘always’ tell the truth, for MPs that figure drops below 1%.

While 20% (18% in 2007) feel councillors ‘never or rarely’ tell the truth 29% (20% in 2007) feel that way about their local MP.

“Anecdotally we are told the MPs’ expenses issue was much discussed on the doorstep during the recent local election campaign,” said Standards for England Chief Executive, Glenys Stacey.

“It is pleasing, therefore, to see that trust in local politicians held up favourably compared to people’s views about national politicians.”

“Local councillors sign up to a robust Code of Conduct allied to an effective local standards framework which deals with 2,800 complaints a year about England’s 80,000 local politicians.

“The system is supported by Standards for England, an independent national regulator with the status to deal with issues councils cannot manage themselves.

“Cases of the most serious wrong-doing are rare, only 19 councillors were suspended or disqualified as a result of standards complaints in 2007-8.

“Working with English councils, we need to do more to let local residents know how the standards framework is helping to safeguard high standards in local government.”

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