Opinion: From our Readers - Public life always had questionable elements

It is tempting to conclude from Moatgate, Byersgate and similar recent scandals that our elected representatives are plumbing new depths of corruption and venality. Some commentators have given in to this temptation.

It isn't true. Whether it was David Lloyd George selling honours or the demigod Winston Churchill accepting financial support from rich friends in high places, public life has always had its questionable elements, some outright wrong and some not quite right.

What motivates MPs and candidates today? Except, perhaps, for a very few, it isn't money. My own impression is that they want to be in charge because they think they know better. We might quarrel with this belief and dislike the way it manifests itself, but as a motivation it's fair enough.

No-one can excuse MPs and soon to be ex-MPs offering their services on the commercial market. It's obviously access rather than influence they are peddling, but in any case it makes the whole show look tatty.

Nevertheless, they are the exception, and it is neither fair nor helpful to pretend that they are the rule.

- Adrian Wheeler, partner, Agincourt Communications.

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