MEMBERS of Parliament have made more formal apologies in the Commons during this Westminster term than any other since 1979, a new report has revealed.

A list of apologies made on the floor of the House shows this has happened on 16 occasions since 2019 – averaging a high of four per year.

The previous highest total was during the parliamentary term from 1997-2001 when 15 apologies were made, according to the House of Commons Library report.

Overall, Tory or former Tory MPs were the worst offenders, with 49 listed as making an apology since 1979, compared to 36 from Labour – with some appearing on the list twice.

Campaigners calling for improvements in political standards said it shows the need for an “urgent change” in the culture of UK politics.

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The most recent examples include former cabinet minister Gavin Williamson, who apologised in September for bullying the Conservatives’ former chief whip in a series of text messages in 2022.

In June, former health secretary Matt Hancock – who sits as an Independent after being stripped of the Tory whip – was forced to apologise to MPs after parliament’s standards watchdog found he broke House of Commons rules by attempting to influence an inquiry into a Conservative MP.

Three LibDem MPs were also listed in the report, with two from Plaid Cymru and one from the SNP – Patrick Grady, who apologised in June last year after a complaint was upheld that he had breached rules on sexual harassment.

The year before he became prime minister, Boris Johnson had to make an apology over the late declaration of more than £52,000 of outside earnings.

Jennifer Nadel, co-director of Compassion in Politics, said: “We need to urgently change the culture of our politics.

“This latest report into the growing number of apologies issued by Ministers comes off the back of several years of lies and rule-bending – not to mention the astonishing number of MPs who have been accused of bullying, abuse, and harassment.

“It is often said that an apology is only meaningful if it is backed up by a change in behaviour. Sadly, we have not seen any serious attempt by those responsible to raise standards in politics and prevent the kind of scandals we have grown accustomed to from being repeated.

“That is why we must create an independent Ethics Commission charged with establishing and enforcing ethical norms in parliament, introduce new rules to ensure MPs are held accountable if they willingly lie to the public, and strengthen the power of voters to influence and shape government policy outside of elections.

“Politics is meant to serve each and every one of us. Let’s build the system we deserve.”

The House of Commons Library report notes there are many reasons why an MP might apologise to the House such as resulting from an investigation and recommendation by the committee responsible for upholding ethical standards in public life.

READ MORE: Matt Hancock: Tory MP told to apologise after breaching Code of Conduct

Other examples include apologies “made for disorderly conduct or for the provision of inaccurate information during proceedings”.

The list also includes some fiery incidents which have taken place in the Commons, including Plaid Cymru MP Dafydd Wigley having to apologise for damaging the Speaker’s chair in 1983.

He said sorry to MPs, explaining that “following some heated exchanges, I was in the process of making representations to Mr Deputy Speaker, during the course of which I accidentally dislodged the hinged wing of Mr Speaker’s chair.”

He gave an undertaking that he would “be more careful with the furniture of the House in future”.

Scottish Labour MP Ron Brown had to apologise to MPs in 1988 over an incident in which he threw the House of Commons mace to the floor and damaged it as a protest during a debate on the Tory poll tax.

The MP, who represented Edinburgh's Leith constituency from 1979 to 1987, helped found Scotland’s movement against the tax.