Former "anti-sleaze" independent MP and BBC war correspondent Martin Bell urged League of Jewish Women members to study the records of MPs standing for re-election before casting their vote.
During a wide-ranging conversation with league president Ella Marks on Monday in central London, Mr Bell recalled his successful campaign against Neil Hamilton in Tatton, Cheshire, in 1997.
Asked about sleaze and corruption in Westminster today, he told the audience of 130: "We are worse off now than we were then."
He pointed out that "in two parliaments we debated fox hunting and the Iraq Bill. MPs spent 700 hours debating whether to kill foxes and seven hours debating whether to kill people."
Dressed in his trademark white suit, Mr Bell also said that although the Conservatives were favourites to form the next government, "there is everything to play for".