8 Expelling peers convicted of a serious
57. In both the oral and written evidence we received,
there was unanimous support for the idea that peers convicted
of a serious offence should be expelled.
Unlock Democracy's submission, which was typical of many of those
which we received, stated:
The fact that at present members of the House
of Lords can be convicted of serious offences, from fire starting
to false accounting and perjury, serve custodial offences and
remain members of the legislature, damages the reputation of the
House of Lords. It reinforces the notion that politicians are
somehow a class apart who are not treated in the same way as the
rest of the country.
58. Proposals on expulsion were included in the previous
Government's Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill, the Coalition's
2012 House of Lords Reform Bill, and also in a number of Private
Members' Bills sponsored by Lord Steel. More recently, Baroness
Hayman's Bill states that a peer convicted of a criminal offence
by a court in the United Kingdom or elsewhere, and sentenced,
imprisoned or detained indefinitely for more than one year would
cease to be a member of the Lords. If introduced, this would mirror
the disqualification provisions for the House of Commons for serious
criminal offences, a point that was supported by numerous witnesses
who argued there should be no difference between the two Houses.
59. Giving evidence to us on this issue, Baroness
Hayman suggested that she was minded to add a provision which
would allow for the expulsion of any peer who brought the House
into disrepute. This idea found also favour with Lords Goodlad,
Hennessy and Norton when they gave evidence to us.
60. We conclude that there is a consensus in support
of the introduction of provisions to enable the expulsion of peers
convicted of a serious offence. We strongly support the proposal
contained within Baroness Hayman's House of Lords Reform Bill
which addresses this matter.
122 Ev w2; Ev w7; Ev w9; Ev w10; Ev w15 Back
Ev w33 Back
Q 96; Ev w5; Ev w47; Ev w7; Ev w10 Back
Q 96 Back