Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Ninth Report


Recommendations made by the former Committee on Standards and Privileges

  [References are to the Committee's Fifth Report, HC 267 (2000-01)]

1.  The Code of Conduct applies to Members in all aspects of their public life. The Code does not, and the House should not, seek to regulate what Members do in their purely private and personal lives. [Para. 3]

2.  The purpose of registration is openness about interests or benefits which might reasonably be thought to influence actions taken in the capacity of a Member of Parliament. Registration of an interest does not imply any wrongdoing and should not be treated as doing so, either by Members or by the media. [Para. 4]

3.  The guidance set out in paragraph 63 of The Guide to the Rules should be applied in future to overseas visits. [Para. 5]

4.  Paragraph 62(7) of The Guide to the Rules should be amended to read:

    "Overseas Visits: Although, except as set out in paragraph 28, overseas visits must be registered and declared, such visits shall not be taken into account when applying the rule [banning lobbying for reward or consideration]." [Para. 5]

5.  Hospitality provided by Her Majesty's Government, any of the devolved institutions in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, or Non-Departmental Public Bodies, including a Member's local authorities or health authorities, should be exempt from registration. [Para. 10].

6.  The following sentences should be added to paragraph 24 of The Guide to the Rules:

    "Benefits, such as tickets to sporting or cultural events, received by another person together with or on behalf of a Member should be registered as if they had been received by the Member. Gifts, or other benefits, from another Member of Parliament are registrable in the same way as those from anyone else." [Para. 11]

7.  The Guide to the Rules should be amended as follows:

    "paragraph 31: insert, after "children" in line 4, "Members should also include identifiable holdings of overseas trusts of which they are actual or potential beneficiaries."

    after paragraph 33: insert a new paragraph, as follows: "Members should register under this category potential or actual interests in overseas trusts, except where these have been registered under Category 9"." [Para. 15]

8.  The Resolution of the House on advocacy [lobbying for reward or consideration] should be amended by adding the words "or any approach, whether oral or in writing, to Ministers or servants of the Crown". [Para. 17]

9.  The following sentence should be inserted after paragraph 12 of The Guide to the Rules:

    "A reference in any Category to a spouse includes a Member's partner." [Para. 21]

10.  The Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme should be added to the list of exemptions from registration at sub-paragraph (iii) of paragraph 28 of The Guide to the Rules. The Committee on Standards and Privileges should have power to add similar schemes to the list from time to time. [Para. 22]

11.  The guidance to Category 9 should be amended to bring it in line with the rule. [Para. 27]

12.  The description of employment agreements in The Guide to the Rules should be changed to "agreements for the provision of services". [Para. 32]

13.  The Resolution of 6 November 1995 should be amended to allow the reproduction of deposited agreements. [Para. 34]

14.  Membership of the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales, the Northern Ireland Assembly, the European Parliament and local authorities in the United Kingdom should not be taken into account when applying the advocacy rule [the ban on lobbying for reward or consideration]. [Para. 37]

15.  The restrictions imposed by the advocacy rule [the ban on lobbying for reward or consideration] should not apply to Ministers when acting in the House as Ministers. [Para. 37]

16.  Paragraph 62(4) of The Guide to the Rules should be amended to remove the provision relating to the period between 15 November 1995 and the publication of the 1997 Register. [Para. 37]

17.  The Guide to the Rules should be amended to refer to "lobbying for reward or consideration" rather than "advocacy". [Para. 39]

18.  It is a basic courtesy that a Member making a complaint to the Commissioner should at the same time send a copy of the letter of complaint to the Member concerned. Where the Committee felt that a complaint from a Member was frivolous or had been made only for partisan reasons, it would expect to state that in any report it made about the complaint. [Para. 47]

19.  Paragraph 46 of The Guide to the Rules should be amended to read "a declaration should be brief but should make specific reference to the nature of the Member's interest." [Para. 56]

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