The Code of Conduct - House of Commons Contents

1. Registration of Members' Financial Interests

Rules of the House
"Every Member of the House of Commons shall furnish to a Registrar of Members' Financial Interests such particulars of his registrable interests as shall be required, and shall notify to the Registrar any alterations which may occur therein, and the Registrar shall cause these particulars to be entered in a Register of Members' Interests which shall be available for inspection by the public."

(Resolution of the House of 22 May 1974, amended on 9 February 2009)

"For the purposes of the Resolution of the House of 22 May 1974 in relation of disclosure of interests in any proceeding of the House or its Committees, any interest declared in a copy of the Register of Members' Financial Interests shall be regarded as sufficient disclosure for the purpose of taking part in any division of the House or in any of its Committees."

(Part of the Resolution of the House of 12 June 1975, amended on 9 February 2009)

10. Under the Resolution agreed by the House on 22 May 1974, and under the Code of Conduct, Members are required to register their financial interests in a Register of Members' Financial Interests. The duty of compiling the Register rests with the Commissioner, whose functions are set out in Standing Order No. 150. The Commissioner is assisted by the Registrar.

Definition of the Register's purpose

11. The main purpose of the Register of Members' Financial Interests is "to provide information of any financial interest or other material benefit which a Member receives which might reasonably be thought by others to influence his or her actions, speeches or votes in Parliament, or actions taken in his or her capacity as a Member of Parliament."[7] The registration form specifies twelve Categories of registrable interests which are described below. Apart from the specific rules, there is a more general obligation upon Members to keep the overall definition of the Register's purpose in mind when registering their interests.

12. The purpose of registration is openness. Registration of an interest does not imply any wrongdoing.

Duties of Members in respect of registration

13. Members of Parliament are required to complete a registration form and submit it to the Commissioner within one month of their election to the House (whether at a general election or a by-election). After the initial publication of the Register (or, in the case of Members returned at by-elections, after their initial registration) it is the responsibility of Members to notify changes in their registrable interests within four weeks of each change occurring.

14. Any Member who has a registrable interest which has not at the time been registered, shall not undertake any action, speech or proceeding of the House (except voting) to which the registration would be relevant until he or she has notified the Commissioner of that interest.

15. Members are responsible for making a full disclosure of their interests, and if they have relevant interests which do not fall clearly into one or other of the specified categories, they are nonetheless expected to register them, normally under Category 11.

16. Financial thresholds below which interests are not registrable apply except in Categories 1, 2 and 3, and the thresholds for the categories vary. All single benefits of whatever kind which exceed the applicable threshold (if any) should be registered in the appropriate Category. Category 4 requires the registration of all benefits received from the same source which amount to more than £1,500 in a calendar year, in increments of more than £500. Categories 5, 6 and 7 require the registration of all benefits, received from the same source in the course of a calendar year, which cumulatively amount to more than 1 per cent of the current parliamentary salary.[9] Category 8 requires the registration of property worth more than 100% of a Member's annual parliamentary salary[10] or rental income worth 10% of that salary.[11] Category 9 requires the registration of shareholdings worth more than 100% of the annual parliamentary salary. Category 10 applies the same threshold as Category 4. In addition, if a Member considers that any benefit he or she has received falls within the definition of the main purpose of the Register set out in paragraph 11, even though it does not exceed the 1 per cent threshold, the Member should register it under Category 11 (Miscellaneous). The threshold for Category 12 is, again 1% of the annual parliamentary salary.

17. PPERA makes provision as to the permissibility of donations for amounts over £500. By making an entry in the Register the Member confirms that to the best of his or her belief the donation is from a permissible source. The threshold for reporting under PPERA is £1,500, whether as a single donation or as an accumulation of donations of £500 or more from the same source within the same calendar year. When accepting benefits worth more than £500 but below the registration threshold of £1,500, Members should bear in mind the need to ensure they are from permissible donors and keep records as they may be reportable when combined with other donations from the same source in a calendar year. Donations over £500 that are from an unidentifiable or impermissible source should be returned and reported to the Commission within 30 days.

Publication and public inspection

18. The Register is published under the authority of the Committee on Standards and Privileges in printed form soon after the beginning of a new Parliament, and approximately annually thereafter. Between printings the Register is regularly updated electronically. The current version and a number of previous editions are available for public inspection in the Parliamentary Archives. The current Register, with previous editions, is also available on the Internet. At the discretion of the Commissioner copies of individual entries in the Register may be supplied on request.

7   Select Committee on Members' Interests, First Report, Session 1991-92, "Registration and Declaration of Financial Interests", HC 236, paragraph 27. Back

9   About £660 at 1 April 2010 Back

10   About £66,000 at 1 April 2010 Back

11   About £6,600 at 1 April 2010 Back

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Prepared 23 June 2009