Rt Hon David Davis MP wants legal protection for whistleblowers who make disclosures to their MP and criminal sanctions for bosses who “shoot the messenger”
Ahead of his Public Interest Disclosure (Amendment) Ten Minute Rule Motion to protect whistleblowers who reveal malpractice to their Member of Parliament, The Rt Hon David Davis has said:
“This simple change would have a hugely positive impact on the ability of Members of Parliament to represent their constituents.
It would also protect public-spirited whistleblowers who expose dangerous or dishonest behaviour, and who want to do so without fear of losing their job.
The decision to blow the whistle is a life-changing choice. Whistleblowers find themselves shunned by colleagues, bullied by bosses, and hauled before tribunals on trumped up charges. Half suffer negative treatment, and around a third of those are sacked.
Now that the State has more access to our communications data then ever before, it is getting harder for whistleblowers to remain anonymous. When a government lawyer revealed that tax authorities had allowed multinational companies to reduce their tax bills by millions of pounds through “sweetheart deals”, they used anti-terrorism laws to inspect his hard drive, email account and phone records.
This and other measures will make it much harder for the press and public to learn about wrongdoing in public life.
As things stand, an individual who reveals wrongdoing to his MP can be sacked or discriminated against at work.
This Bill seeks to close that loophole and protect whistleblowers who make disclosures to an MP. Blowing the whistle on dodgy tax deals, dangerous hospitals, environmental damage or other criminal activity would be automatically protected.
The Bill would empower Members of Parliament to refer whistleblowers’ claims to the prescribed person or body which is best-placed to investigate them, and to require a confidential response.
It would also make it a criminal offence for an employer to try and prevent a worker from blowing the whistle to their MP.
Shielding these courageous men and women from legal hurdles and vindictive bosses will help Members of Parliament protect everyone from waste, corruption and incompetence in business, in healthcare and more generally in public life. With extra protection for whistleblowers, we can make it harder for bosses to shoot the messenger and hide the truth.”