BBC News: Election 2010 BBC News

Page last updated at 16:03 GMT, Tuesday, 6 April 2010 17:03 UK

Wokingham candidate wants election lie detector tests

Mark Ashwell
Mr Ashwell said voters should be reassured that politicians are honest

An independent Berkshire parliamentary candidate has called for all politicians to take lie detector tests during the run-up to the election.

Mark Ashwell is standing against Tory MP John Redwood in his local constituency of Wokingham.

Mr Ashwell, who runs a windows and conservatory business, said he has used lie detectors to "demonstrate his company's honesty to customers".

When the BBC contacted Mr Redwood he refused to comment.

His other opponents for the seat all said they disagreed with his suggestion.

British politics should not be turned into a version of the Jeremy Kyle show
George Davidson, Labour candidate

Mr Ashwell said many politicians "have become fluent in the frivolous and often highly deceptive language of politic speak".

Mr Ashwell said: "After the expenses scandal and the latest cash for questions revelations, the electorate deserves 'proof of the truth' and to be reassured that politicians are being totally straight with them.

'Politic speak' translated by Mark Ashwell
Lessons will be learned

Fingers crossed it won't happen again

We intend do everything we can

Nothing we can do about it

We shall endeavour to find a compromise

We're not budging on this one

It's time to draw a line under these events

Can we change the subject now?

There have been full and frank discussions

Total disagreement on all issues

It would be unwise to speculate on the outcome

Don't ask, you won't like the answer

"If you've nothing to hide, there's no reason to be concerned about taking the tests. But the system and the operative must be of a professional and credible standard."

However, Labour candidate George Davidson said: "I think someone's got too much time on their hands.

"British politics should not be turned into a version of the Jeremy Kyle show. Politics is about being straight and decent over five years, not for a five minute test. The electorate get the chance to vote out those who lie or cheat once caught, so the test is an irrelevance."

Lib Dem candidate Prue Bray said: "The problem with lie detector tests is that you can fool them - and there are plenty of people who will show you how to do it.

"Plus, they are not guaranteed accurate even if you are not setting out to fool them. I think having a good track record is the best way for politicians to show voters whether they are honest and trustworthy, whether they work hard, and what they stand for."

Candidate Marjory Bisset, from Reading Green Party, said: "It sounds like an unworkable gimmick to me. You would have to get the lie detector gear out every time a politician made a statement.

"That said, I would have no qualms myself about taking such a test."

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