Draft Relevant Authorities (General Principles) Order 2001

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Ms Armstrong: I was not going to respond directly to the hon. Gentleman. Had he been a member of the Committee that considered the Local Government Bill, he would know that that matter was fully dealt with during the debate on the procedures under that Bill. We should not go into that today, as there will be further opportunities for hon. Members to debate that when the procedures come before the House and when the model code is considered.

I can assure the hon. Gentleman that the matter has been considered by the relevant legal bodies and by everyone else involved. There will be appeals to the High Court, and the procedure will be that which currently applies to other adjudication panels. The Lord Chancellor's Department views the Standards Board for England as another tribunal. I am sure that he will be able to pursue the matter further when we discuss the procedures and the code.

We are dealing solely with the principles today. The principles that underpin the ethical framework will help ensure high standards of conduct in local government, and restore public confidence in local councillors. As I said, we are content that the order does not breach the Human Rights Act.

Mr. Clifton-Brown: Will the Minister give way?

Ms Armstrong: I have just finished, actually.

Mr. Clifton-Brown: Will the Minister give way?

Ms Armstrong: I shall.

Mr. Clifton-Brown: Although the interpretation article refers to statutory officers, none of the 10 principles applies to them. I believe that officers have their own code. Will the Minister give us an idea of how the code for members compares with that for officers?

Ms Armstrong: That is not the issue for today. The code for officers is being developed separately. Officers are not public representatives in the same sense with the same responsibilities. However, we have not yet finished consulting on the code. We expect to do so shortly.

Question put and agreed to.


    That the Committee has considered the draft Relevant Authorities (General Principles) Order 2001.

        Committee rose at fifteen minutes past Five o'clock.

The following Members attended the Committee:
Illsley, Mr. Eric (Chairman)
Armstrong, Ms
Clifton-Brown, Mr.
Fabricant, Mr.
Foster, Mr. Don
Fraser, Mr.
Hughes, Mr. Kevin
Keeble, Ms
King, Mr. Andy
Linton, Mr.
McCafferty, Ms
Rapson, Mr.
Smith, Miss Geraldine
Taylor, Ms Dari
Turner, Mr. Neil
Waterson, Mr.

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Prepared 2 April 2001