Lobbying scandals see UK fall in corruption table

By Charles Maggs

The UK has dropped from 16th to 17th in the international corruption table, as worries over unfair lobbying and party political funding grow.

The report, published today by Transparency International, blames a 'revolving door' between government and business for the fall.

"Despite the passing of the Bribery Act and measures to improve transparency in government the perception of experts is that the UK continues to be more vulnerable to corruption than the political establishment is willing to admit," said Chandu Krishnan, executive director of Transparency International UK.

"The UK is struggling to remain in the top 20, let alone achieve a place in the top 10. The steady stream of political scandals has exposed a worrying complacency at the heart of UK politics.

"Until the government acts with urgency to put a cap on party funding and introduce tougher regulation of lobbying and the revolving door, the UK will not be able to rise higher in global anti-corruption league tables."

Each country is rated out of 100, with the top scorers being Finland, Denmark and New Zealand on 90, while the UK saw its score fall from 78 last year to 74. 

The call for reform of party funding will be welcomed by Liberal Democrats who have been pushing for the state funding of political parties – a move resisted by Labour, which enjoys large payments from the unions, and the Conservatives, who have big individual donors.

It was a case of the usual suspects at the bottom of the table, with Somalia, Afghanistan and North Korea struggling with the lowest levels of accountability.