SINGAPORE: A spate of political scandals in Singapore, including a corruption case and the resignations of senior lawmakers, has been a "setback" to the ruling party, Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong told the BBC on Wednesday.

Wong, who is expected to be the city-state's next prime minister, said in an interview the government would work "doubly hard" to earn back the trust of Singaporeans.

"If I do have a chance to take over [as prime minister], I know that it's not just about me taking over because I also have to earn that trust from Singaporeans themselves. I have to win their confidence and mandate to lead the country," he said.

Singapore has to call a general election by 2025.

In recent weeks, the otherwise politically stable country has seen a graft investigation involving transport minister S. Iswaran, and the resignation of two ruling party lawmakers, including the house speaker, who quit because of an inappropriate relationship.

Voters have raised questions about why it took three days for authorities to reveal that Iswaran was arrested, and why the lawmakers were allowed to continue in their posts when Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong knew about their relationship since 2020.

Wong said the anti-graft bureau chose to reveal Iswaran's arrest three days after they had taken place due to "operational considerations".

With regard to the lawmakers, he said the People's Action Party, which has ruled Singapore uninterrupted since 1959, was "cognisant of the impact that our actions have on innocent parties, including families, especially the spouses and their children".

(Reporting by Xinghui Kok; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor)