5 big political scandals of the last 20 years

Arlene Foster

Scandals are - unfortunately - an inescapable reality of British politics. Here are five from the last twenty years.

Peter Mandelson (1998)

One year into Blair’s New Labour government, Peter Mandelson resigned from the cabinet for the first time. According to the BBC, the Trade and Industry Secretary resigned from his position when it was revealed that he had not disclosed a home loan he had been given by Geoffrey Robinson, the Paymaster General at the time. Robinson also resigned. The scandal was one of the first to hit the New Labour government.

Henry McLeish (2001)

The Scottish parliament had already had a less than perfect start, with the so-called “office-gate” scandal only adding to the issues. As reported by the BBC, McLeish failed to declare income he made from subletting a bit of his Fife office. After just over a year in office he resigned and was replaced by Jack McConnell.

Expenses Scandal (2009)

This is probably the biggest scandal of the century so far, as it has arguably further added to the negative views that the public hold regarding politicians.

Put simply, MPs were allowed to claim expenses on top of their incomes mainly because they are generally required to have two homes, one in London near the parliament and one in their constituency. After a successful Freedom of Information Request, the expenses scandal revealed some ridiculous things MPs had used the expenses system for including an extravagant duck-house. A full list of what MPs claimed for can be found here, as provided by the Telegraph.

The scandal led to numerous resignations, as well as the creation of IPSA.

Liam Fox (2011)

While things are going well for Liam Fox - as he is now the country’s Secretary of State for International Trade- back in 2011 his situation was not so good. He stepped down from the position of Defence minister for the coalition after allegations about him and his friend Adam Werrity. According to the BBC, Dr Fox wrote in a letter to the prime minister, saying that, "mistakenly" allowed the distinction between his personal interest and government activities to become "blurred".”

Renewable Heating Incentive Scheme in Northern Ireland (Ongoing)

The effects of this recent scandal are still being felt today. The BBC has reported that a new renewable energy heating incentive scheme set-up in Northern Ireland was found to potentially have “serious flaws”, and have wasted millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money. The scandal led to the resignation of McGuinness, then deputy FM of Northern Ireland and Sinn Fein leader, something which resulted in the country’s second election in less than a year.