Chapter 3: Lobbying for reward or consideration |
1. Paragraph 11 of the Code of Conduct for Members
of Parliament provides:
11. No Member shall act as a paid advocate in
any proceeding of the House.
2. Taking payment in return for advocating a particular
matter in the House is strictly forbidden. Members may not speak
in the House, vote, or initiate parliamentary proceedings for
payment in cash or kind. Nor may they make approaches to Ministers,
other Members or public officials in return for such payment.
3. A Member may not enter into any contractual arrangement
which fetters the Member's complete independence in Parliament,
nor may an outside body (or person) use any contractual arrangement
with a Member of Parliament as an instrument by which it controls,
or seeks to control, his or her conduct in Parliament, or to punish
that Member for any parliamentary action.
4. The rules on lobbying are intended to avoid the
perception that outside individuals or organisations may reward
Members, through payment or in other ways, in the expectation
that their actions in the House will benefit that outside individual
or organisation, even if they do not fall within the strict definition
of paid advocacy. They prevent a Member initiating proceedings
or approaches to Ministers, other Members or public officials
which would confer a financial or material benefit on such a person
or organisation. These rules are intended to provide the right
balance between enabling Members to bring to bear their experience
outside the House on matters of public policy while avoiding any
suggestion that the parliamentary or policy agenda can be set
by an outside individual or organisation making payments to a
5. The lobbying rules do not prevent a Member holding
a paid outside interest as a director, consultant, or adviser,
or in any other capacity, whether or not such interests are related
to membership of the House.
6. The lobbying rules apply only to Members who receive
an outside reward or consideration and whose activities would
provide a financial or material benefit to the person or organisation
providing that reward or consideration. They do not otherwise
prevent Members from initiating or participating in proceedings
or approaches to Ministers, other Members or public officials,
even where they themselves may have a financial interest. In such
cases the rules on registration and declaration apply. Members
must also consider whether they have a conflict of interest. If
so, they must resolve it, at once, in accordance with Paragraph
10 of the Code of Conduct.
7. Interests which are wholly personal and particular
to the Member, which may arise from a profession or occupation
outside the House, ought not to be pursued by the Member in proceedings
The rules relating to lobbying
8. The rules place the following restrictions on
a) When initiating proceedings or approaches
to Ministers, other Members or public officials. Subject to
paragraph 10 below, Members must not engage in lobbying by initiating
a proceeding or approach which seeks to confer, or would have
the effect of conferring, any financial or material benefit on
an identifiable person from whom or an identifiable organisation
from which they, or a family member, have received, are receiving,
or expect to receive outside reward or consideration, or on a
registrable client of such a person or organisation;
b) When participating in proceedings
or approaches to Ministers, other Members or public officials.
Members may lobby by participating in such proceedings or approaches
which would confer a financial or material benefit on the identifiable
person from whom or identifiable organisation from which they,
or a family member, have received, are receiving or expect to
receive outside reward or consideration (or on a registrable client
of such a person or organisation) provided that they have not
initiated those proceedings or approaches and that their approach
or participation does not seek to confer benefit exclusively on
that person or organisation (or on their client) and provided
that that person or organisation (or their client) has not initiated
9. Exceptionally, a Member may approach the responsible
Minister or public official with evidence of a serious wrong or
substantial injustice even if the resolution of any such wrong
or injustice would have the incidental effect of conferring a
financial or material benefit on an identifiable person from whom
or an identifiable organisation from which the Member, or a member
of his or her family, has received, is receiving or expects to
receive, outside reward or consideration (or on a registrable
client of that person or organisation).
10. The restrictions under the lobbying rules apply
for six months after the reward or consideration was received.
A Member can free him or herself immediately of any restrictions
due to a past benefit by repaying the full value of any benefit
received from the outside person or organisation in the preceding
six month period.
11. Initiating a proceeding of the House includes:
a) presenting a Bill;
b) presenting a Petition;
c) tabling and asking a Parliamentary Question,
including a Topical Question or a Question to the Prime Minister;
d) asking a supplementary question to the Member's
e) initiating, or seeking to initiate an adjournment
(or other) debate;
f) tabling or moving any motion (e.g. an "Early
Day Motion", a motion for leave to introduce a Bill under
the "Ten Minute Rule" or a motion "blocking"
a Private Bill);
g) tabling or moving an Amendment to a Bill;
h) proposing a draft Report, or moving an Amendment
to a draft Report, in a Select Committee;
i) giving any written notice, or adding a name
to such a notice, or making an application for and introducing
a daily adjournment debate, or emergency debate.
12. Participating in a proceeding of the House
a) making a speech in the House, in Committee
of the whole House, in Westminster Hall or in a general committee;
b) making an intervention in a debate statement
or other proceeding or asking a supplementary question to another's
c) asking a question in a Select Committee when
taking formal evidence.
13. Outside reward or consideration includes:
a) past financial interests or material benefits,
including "one-off" registrable interests, such as visits
and gifts, and continuing benefits such as directorships, employment
b) all present financial interests or material
benefits which must be either registered or declared;
c) future financial interests or material benefits,
where a Member has a firm and specific expectation that such a
financial benefit from an identifiable outside person or organisation
will accrue in the next six months.
14. Outside reward or consideration does not include:
a) any non-financial interest or benefit, even
though this may be registered or declarable;
b) any payment to someone from the Member's family
which arises out of that person's own occupation. This is not
regarded as a benefit for the purposes of the lobbying rule, although
it may be declarable.
15. An identifiable person or organisation
is a named person or organisation from whom a Member has received
or is receiving outside reward or consideration, or from whom
a Member has a firm and specific expectation of receiving such
reward or consideration, at the time of the relevant parliamentary
proceeding or approach to Ministers, Members or public officials.
16. Family members comprise:
a) all those defined under registration Category
9 (see paragraph 58 of Chapter 1 of this Guide). The lobbying
restriction arising from the receipt of outside reward or consideration
by a family member applies only when the Member is aware or could
reasonably be expected to be aware of such reward or consideration.
17. Public officials include:
a) all those who are responsible for matters
of public policy, public expenditure or the delivery of public
services. The term therefore includes all staff of government
departments and agencies and public office holders.
18. Making any approach to a Minister, other Member
or public official includes:
a) participating in or accompanying a delegation
or group to discussions or meetings, whether these are formal
or informal in nature.
Application of the lobbying rules
Matters outside the lobbying rules
19. The following fall outside the lobbying rules:
a) Ministers: Members who are acting in
the House as government Ministers are not subject to these rules
when acting in that capacity.
b) Other elected bodies: Membership of
other specified elected bodies shall not be taken into account
when applying this rule. These bodies comprise: the Scottish Parliament;
the National Assembly for Wales; the Northern Ireland Assembly;
the European Parliament; and local authorities in the United Kingdom.
c) Constituency issues: Members may pursue
any constituency interest in any approach to a Minister or public
official, subject to the registration and declaration rules. NB:
The lobbying rules do apply, however, in respect of Members initiating
any proceeding of the House on behalf of a person or organisation
in their constituency from whom or from which they, or a family
member receive, have received or expect to receive outside reward
d) Trade union sponsorship: The rules
do not prohibit Members being sponsored by a trade union or any
other organisation, subject to the rules on registration and declaration.
e) Representative organisations, associations,
i) Membership alone (i.e. without remuneration)
of a trade association, staff association, professional body,
charity or other similar representative organisation is not taken
into account when applying the lobbying rules.
ii) A Member who is a member of a representative
organisation may lobby by initiating or participating in parliamentary
proceedings or approaches to Ministers, other Members or public
officials in support of a policy position held by, or a campaign
run by, that organisation, irrespective of any other relevant
financial interest, provided any such interests are properly declared.
iii) Members who are remunerated advisers to
representative organisations are subject to the lobbying rules
in respect of such organisations as they would be in respect of
other identifiable persons or organisations under paragraph 7
f) Private Members' Bills: Private Members
(including those successful in the Ballot for Bills) are not prevented
from introducing and proceeding with a Bill by reason of the fact
that they receive free or subsidised assistance from an organisation
connected with the purposes of the Bill, provided the Member had
no pre-existing financial relationship with the organisation which
is registered, or is required to be registered.
20. Former Members must abide by the restrictions
of the lobbying rules for six months after their departure from
the House in respect of any approach they make to Ministers, other
Members or public officials. Former Members may not use their
privileged parliamentary pass for the purposes of lobbying on
the parliamentary estate.
21. These provisions do not apply to former Members
who are Members of the House of Lords.
22. The Committee on Standards and Privileges has
indicated it would expect the Committee on Standards to regard
it as a serious matter if a sitting Member were influenced in
his or her actions by the prospect of becoming a paid lobbyist,
or entered into improper agreements relating to future lobbying
23. Hospitality from foreign governments and visits
outside the UK
24. Members may not initiate any parliamentary
proceeding or approach to a Minister, other Member or public official
which seeks to confer, or would have the effect of conferring,
any financial or material benefit on a foreign government, non-governmental
organisation (NGO) or other agency which has, within the previous
six months, funded a visit they have undertaken or provided them
25. Members may, having declared their interest,
participate in parliamentary proceedings or approaches to Ministers,
other Members or public officials which they have not initiated
and which relate to a country from which they have received hospitality
or where a foreign government has funded their visit, provided
that their participation does not seek to confer benefit exclusively
on that government or organisation.
Points of Order
26. The Speaker has declined to receive points of
order relating to registration or lobbying.
58 The definition of a family member is as under registration
Category 9; see paragraph 58 of Chapter 1 of this Guide. Back
Subject to the provisions in paragraph10 above which enable a
Member to free him- or herself of a past benefit. Back
Select Committee on Standards in Public Life, Second Report, Session
1994-95, HC 816,paragraph 26 and e.g. HC Deb, vol 276, col 605
and vol 277, cols 767-68 Back