After a report warned of “woeful inadequacies” in upholding political integrity, the United Kingdom plummeted to the bottom of a global corruption league table.
Britain had the biggest drop in Transparency International’s corruption perceptions index among the G7 countries, falling from 13th to 18th.
Two days after Rishi Sunak fired Nadhim Zahawi as chair of the Conservative Party due to revelations about his tax affairs, including the fact that he paid a penalty to HMRC, this report was released.
The list of 180 countries and territories is used as a global benchmark by analysts and investors. Among the biggest decliners were Qatar, Russia, and Brazil.
A series of political scandals within the Conservative party have tarnished Britain’s image. After Boris Johnson resigned as prime minister in 2022 due to the Partygate and other scandals involving the Conservative Party and its members, including the behaviour of MP Chris Pincher, the country went through three different leaders that year.
According to the report, the UK is facing a “ever-expanding list of problems.” According to the report, Tory peer Michelle Mone was among those who benefited financially from contracts to supply security equipment that were awarded to companies with which they had political ties. In addition, it brought attention to the fact that politically connected individuals were placed in high-ranking government positions during the pandemic.
In late 2021, Transparency International reported on government efforts to shield Conservative MP Owen Paterson from an ethics investigation. In spite of this, the international anti-corruption group acknowledged “steps in the right direction,” such as Sunak’s appointment of a new ethics adviser in December.
According to the study, “if the government is truly committed to restoring trust in politics, it needs to overhaul how the standards and conduct of elected representatives are regulated to stop the slide.”
Qatar fell nine places to 40 after receiving criticism for its treatment of workers leading up to the World Cup. The top three countries remained unchanged: Denmark, Finland, and New Zealand; the bottom three countries were Somalia, Syria, and South Sudan.
Russia, which invaded Ukraine last February, ranked 137th, and the report said there was little oversight of Vladimir Putin’s actions due to a system of “kleptocrats” receiving fortunes in exchange for loyalty.
Brazil’s international standing has taken a hit due to the actions of ex-president Jair Bolsonaro and his supporters. According to Transparency International, he was behind the “dismantling of anti-corruption frameworks” and had created a network of “corrupt schemes” to gain support.
An earlier this month, Bolsanaro supporters stormed government buildings in protest of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who replaced Bolsanaro. On Monday, it became public that Bolsanaro had applied for a visitor visa to the United States for a stay of up to six months.
With its four-place drop to 77th, Hungary has surpassed Bulgaria as the EU’s lowest-ranked member state.