Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Ninth Report

Reply to the Chairman of the Committee on Standards and Privileges from the Rt Hon Ann Taylor MP

Thank you for your letter of 17 June about your Committee's discussion about the original seven Nolan principles.

I have had a discussion with Tony Newton and he agrees the terms of this letter. The specific issue to which you refer—the omitted words—was not explicitly discussed by our Committee since an assumption was made, correctly in my view, that the Nolan Committee was outlining its principles of public life in general. Indeed, the sentence in the first report after the one you quote reads: "The [Nolan] Committee has set them out here for the benefit of all who serve the public in any way.".

That first Nolan report dealt with the conduct of Ministers, agencies and quangos as well as that of Members of Parliament. The Select Committee on Standards in Public Life, on the other hand, dealt only with the conduct of Members as Members.

It was our view then, and remains my view, that the conduct of Members in their capacities other than that of a Member, should properly be dealt with by outside agencies such as the police, the courts and regulatory authorities. Of course, there may be occasions when the House would want to come to a view about the outside conduct of a Member, but only after bodies such as those mentioned above have exhausted their procedures.

I hope that this has clarified the matter.

29 June 1999

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