The Standards Commissioner has signalled she wants to start naming MPs who are under investigation, saying that a "lack of openness" undermines the parliamentary watchdog's work.
In her annual report, Kathryn Stone said the current system makes it possible for an elected representative to stand for re-election "without the public knowing that they are being investigated".
As it stands, MPs suspected of potential wrongdoing are granted anonymity while the issue is probed by the Commissioner.
Originally, the information was in the public domain but was restricted in response to an inquiry into sexual harassment and bullying in Westminster.
The former leader of the House of Commons Andrew Leadsom ushered in the change in 2018 in order to give complainants confidence to come forward directly.
However, similar anonymity was applied to all cases of MPs investigated for breaches of the Commons Code of Conduct, meaning allegations of the wrongful use of parliamentary expenses were also investigated in secret.
Signalling her wish to revert back to the old system, Ms Stone said: "If a serious concern comes to light and no-one confirms that an investigation has started, it is easy to assume that no action is being taken. It is also easy for misinformation to circulate.
“And these arrangements allow an MP to stand for office or for re-election without the public knowing that they are being investigated. I have therefore asked the Standards Committee to invite the House to restore the pre-July 2018 arrangements.”
This would allow her to publish the name of the MP and a "very brief" explanation of the complaint online, she said.
"This was the arrangement before July 2018, which in my view represents a proper balance between confidentiality and transparency," Ms Stone wrote in the report.
"Openness is one of the seven principles of public life. It is a foundation of the parliamentary standards system. I am sorry to say that for the last two years there has been less openness than before about my inquiries."
The annual report shows that complaints about MPs rose by a third between May and June this year.
Last month 383 complaints were received, compared to May's figure of 268, rising by 30 per cent.
In 2019–20, the Commissioner received 2,726 allegations concerning the conduct of a named MP, an increase of 11 per cent on the previous year.
Ms Stone also used her annual report to warn of a lack of planning for the new bullying and harassment process in the Commons.
Three weeks ago MPs voted to form an independent complaints panel to examine such cases under what is known as the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS).
The panel, made up of eight members, will have the ability to impose sanctions including suspensions and exclusions of MPs in serious cases.
However, in her report, Ms Stone warned the scheme posed "risks to credibility" of the standards process and was introduced "quickly and without clear governance".
She said: "It would have benefited from more planning. It has fallen to my team, together with operational ICGS colleagues, to make good any deficiencies.
"We remain committed to delivering outcomes that are fair for reporters and responders alike."
Last year the office of the Standards Commissioner's office cost the taxpayer £709,990, up from £526,623 last year.
Ms Stone said the additional costs came from new staff members and providing MPs with new ring binders containing the Code of Conduct after last year's general election.
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