Guide to the Rules relating to the conduct
of Members |
1. The purpose of this Guide is to assist Members
in discharging the duties placed upon them by the Code of Conduct
agreed by the House. It replaces the Guide approved by the House
on 14 May 2002 (HC 841 (2001-02)). While previous editions of
the Rules derived their authority from Resolutions of the House
rather than from statute or common law, the attention of Members
is drawn to the fact that in respect of registration categories
4, 5, and 6 there are in addition requirements imposed by the
Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA)
as amended by the Electoral Administration Act 2006.
2. In most circumstances, registration on the Register
of Members' Financial Interests is sufficient to meet the requirements
of PPERA. The Electoral Commission will extract the information
to which the law entitles them from the published Register, or,
where the publication timescale of the Register does not permit
this, by accessing from the office of the Parliamentary Commissioner
for Standards the information provided by Members to him. In the
latter case publication by the Commission will sometimes predate
publication in the Register.
3. Members remain subject to the jurisdiction of
the Electoral Commission in respect of the permissibility of donations
and loans, and are required to report impermissible or unidentifiable
donations offered and loans accepted over £500
in value to the Commission. PPERA provides controls for the acceptance
and reporting of donations and loans which, if over £500,
must be from a permissible source.
The information required to be reported is explained in the case
of permissible donations and loans under categories 4, 5, 6 and
10 and for impermissible donations is available from the Commission.
4. No written guidance can provide for all circumstances,
and the examples included in this Guide should not be regarded
as constituting an exhaustive list. The Parliamentary Commissioner
for Standards ("the Commissioner") and the Registrar
of Members' Financial Interests ("the Registrar") are
available to give advice.
5. The Guide is divided into four Sections dealing
with (1) Registration of Interests (paragraphs 10-71); (2) Declaration
of Interests (paragraphs 72-88); (3) Lobbying for Reward or Consideration
(paragraphs 89-102) and (4) Procedure for Complaints (paragraphs
6. The House has two distinct but overlapping and
interdependent mechanisms for the disclosure of the personal
financial interests of its Members: registration of interests
in a Register which is open for public inspection; and declaration
of interest in the course of debate in the House and in other
7. The main purpose of the Register is to give public
notification on a continuous basis of those financial interests
held by Members which might be thought to influence their parliamentary
conduct or actions.
8. The main purpose of declaration of interest is
to ensure that Members of the House and the public are made aware,
at the appropriate time when a Member is making a speech in the
House or in Committee or participating in any other proceedings
of the House, of any past, present or expected future financial
interest, direct or indirect, which might reasonably be
thought by others to be relevant to those proceedings.
9. Ministers of the Crown who are Members of the
House of Commons are subject to the rules of registration and
declaration in the same way as all other Members (although Ministerial
office is not registrable and the restrictions imposed by the
ban on lobbying for reward or consideration do not apply to Ministers
when acting in the House as Ministers). In addition, Ministers
are subject to further guidelines and requirements laid down by
successive Prime Ministers ("The Ministerial Code" (http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/propriety_and_ethics/ministers/ministerialcode)).
These requirements are not enforced by the House of Commons and
so are beyond the scope of this Guide.
See Note on permissible donations and loans, page 25 Back