The Code of Conduct together with the Guide to the Rules relating to the Conduct of Members Contents

Appendix to the Guide to the Rules: Resolutions of the House relating to the Conduct of Members

Registration and Declaration of Members’ Financial Interests

Resolutions of 22 May 1974, amended on 9 February 2009: Members’ Financial Interests (Declaration)

“In any debate or proceeding of the House or its Committees or transactions or communications which a Member may have with other Members or with Ministers or servants of the Crown, he shall disclose any relevant pecuniary interest or benefit of whatever nature, whether direct or indirect, that he may have had, may have or may be expecting to have.”

“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’ Financial Interests which shall be available for inspection by the public.”

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Resolution of 12 June 1975, amended on 19 July 1995 and 9 February 2009: Members’ Financial Interests (Declaration)

“For the purposes of the Resolution of the House of 22 May 1974 in relation to disclosure of interests in any proceeding of the House or its Committees,

any interest disclosed 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 in the House or in any of its Committees.

the term ‘proceeding’ shall be deemed not to include the asking of a supplementary question.”

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Resolution of 12 June 1975, amended on 9 February 2009: Members’ Financial Interests (Declaration)

“Pursuant to the Resolutions of the House of 22 May 1974, this House agrees with the recommendations made in the Report of the Select Committee on Members’ Interests (Declaration) relative to the arrangements for the registration of Members’ Interests, and with the recommendations contained in paragraphs 43 and 47 of that Report in relation to the declaring of such interests; and that a Register of such interests be established as soon as possible in accordance with the proposals made in that Report.”

Paragraph 43 of the First Report from the Select Committee on Members’ Interests (Declaration) (Session 1974–75) HC 102, reads:—

“No difficulty should arise in any proceeding of the House or its Committees in which the Member has an opportunity to speak. Such proceedings, in addition to debates in the House, include debates in Standing Committees, the presentation of a Public Petition, and meetings of Select Committees at which evidence is heard. On all such occasions the Member will declare his interest at the beginning of his remarks in exactly the same way as he has hitherto done by convention. It will be a matter for his judgement, if his interest is already recorded in the Register, whether he simply draws attention to this or makes a rather fuller disclosure.”

Paragraph 47 of the same Report provides that declarations of interest made in Select Committees shall be recorded in their Minutes of Proceedings.

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Resolution of 17 December 1985, amended on 9 February 2009: Register of Members’ Financial Interests

“This House ... emphasises that it is the personal responsibility of each Member to have regard to his public position and the good name of Parliament in any work he undertakes or any interests he acquires; confirms that the scope of the requirement to register remunerated trades, professions or vocations includes any remunerated activity in the fields of public relations and political and parliamentary advice and consultancy; in particular ... in regard to the registration and declaring of clients that the services which require such registration and, where appropriate, declaration, include, as well as any action connected with any proceedings in the House or its Committees, the sponsoring of functions in the Palace, making representations to Ministers, Civil Servants and other Members, accompanying delegations to Ministers and the like ...”

[Note: This Resolution should be read in conjunction with the Resolutions of 6 November 1995 on lobbying (Conduct of Members) and delegations (Standards in Public Life).]

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Resolution of 6 November 1995, amended on 14 May 2002 and 9 February 2009: Agreements for the Provision of Services

“(1) With effect from Wednesday 15 November 1995, any Member proposing to enter into an agreement which involves the provision of services in his capacity as a Member of Parliament shall conclude such an agreement only if it conforms to the Resolution of the House of 6 November 1995 relating to Conduct of Members; and a full copy of any such agreement including the fees or benefits payable in bands of: up to £5,000, £5,001–£10,000, and thereafter in bands of £5,000, shall be deposited with the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards at the same time as it is registered in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests and made available for inspection and reproduction by the public;

(2) any Member who has an existing agreement involving the provision of services in his capacity as a Member of Parliament which conforms to the Resolution of the House of 6 November 1995 relating to Conduct of Members, but which is not in written form, shall take steps to put the agreement in written form; and no later than 31 March 1996 a full copy of any such agreement including the fees or benefits payable in bands of: up to £5,000, £5,001–£10,000, and thereafter in bands of £5,000 shall be deposited with the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards and registered in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests and made available for inspection and reproduction by the public; …

Provided that the requirement to deposit a copy of an agreement with the Commissioner shall not apply—

if the fees or benefits payable do not exceed one per cent of the current parliamentary salary; nor

in the case of media work (but in that case the Member shall deposit a statement of the fees or benefits payable in the bands specified above).

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Resolution of 13 July 1992: Members’ Interests (Interests of Chairmen and members of Select Committees)

“This House takes note of the First Report from the Select Committee on Members’ Interests, Session 1990–91 (House of Commons Paper No. 108), relating to the interests of Chairmen and members of Select Committees, and approves the recommendations of the Committee relating to declaration of interest in Select Committees (paragraphs 8 to 16), withdrawal from Committee proceedings (paragraph 24) and procedures prior to the election of a Chairman (paragraph 25).”

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Resolution of 30 April 2009, as amended on 7 February 2011: Registration of Members’ Financial Interests

“(1) That, for the purpose of complying with the Resolution of the House of 22 May 1974 relating to Registration of Members’ Financial Interests, in respect of interests falling within Category 1 (Directorships), Category 2 (Remunerated employment, office, profession, etc) or Category 3 (Clients), hon Members shall furnish the Registrar with the following particulars—

the precise amount of each individual payment made in relation to any interest,

the nature of the work carried out in return for that payment,

the number of hours worked during the period to which the payment relates, and

except where disclosure of the information would be contrary to any legal or established professional duty of privacy or confidentiality, the name and address of the person, organisation or company making the payment;

(2) That such a payment shall be registered

where its value exceeds one tenth of 1 per cent. of the current Parliamentary salary; or

where the total value of payments from the same person, organisation or company in a calendar year exceeds 1 per cent. of the current Parliamentary salary;

(3) That the provisions of this Resolution shall apply whether or not the interest in question depends essentially upon, or arises out of, the hon. Member’s position as a Member of Parliament; and

(4) That the provisions of this Resolution shall come into effect on 1 July 2009.”

Lobbying for Reward or Consideration

Resolution of 2 May 1695: Against offering Bribes to Members

“The Offer of any Money, or other Advantage, to any Member of Parliament, for the promoting of any Matter whatsoever, depending, or to be transacted, in Parliament, is a high Crime and Misdemeanour, and tends to the Subversion of the Constitution.”

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Resolution of 22 June 1858: Rewards to Members

“It is contrary to the usage and derogatory to the dignity of this House, that any of its Members should bring forward, promote or advocate, in this House, any proceeding or measure in which he may have acted or been concerned for or in consideration of any pecuniary fee or reward.”

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Resolution of 15 July 1947, amended on 6 November 1995 and 14 May 2002: Conduct of Members

“It is inconsistent with the dignity of the House, with the duty of a Member to his constituents, and with the maintenance of the privilege of freedom of speech, for any Member of this House to enter into any contractual agreement with an outside body, controlling or limiting the Member’s complete independence and freedom of action in Parliament or stipulating that he shall act in any way as the representative of such outside body in regard to any matters to be transacted in Parliament; the duty of a Member being to his constituents and to the country as a whole, rather than to any particular section thereof and that in particular no Member of the House shall, in consideration of any remuneration, fee, payment, reward or benefit in kind, direct or indirect, which the Member or any member of his or her family has received, is receiving, or expects to receive—

advocate or initiate any cause or matter on behalf or any outside body or individual, or

urge any other Member of either House of Parliament, including Ministers, to do so,

by means of any speech, Question, Motion, introduction of a Bill or amendment to a Motion or Bill, or any approach, whether oral or in writing, to Ministers or servants of the Crown.”

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Resolution of 6 November 1995: Standards in Public Life

“This House agrees with the recommendations in the Second Report from the Select Committee on Standards in Public Life (House of Commons Paper No. 816) relating to the cessation of paid advocacy (paragraph 54);77 and further that a Member with a paid interest should not initiate or participate in, including attendance, a delegation where the problem affects only the body from which he has a paid interest.”

Conduct of Members

Resolution of 19 July 1995: Code of Conduct

“This House endorses the principle of a Code of Conduct, and instructs the appropriate Select Committee to prepare such a draft Code for approval as soon as possible, taking into account the suggestions of the Nolan Committee and any relevant overseas analogues; and whilst restating its commitment to the objectives of the Resolution of the House of 15 July 1947 relating to privileges, accepts the need to review its wording in the context of the work to be undertaken on the draft Code.”

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Resolution of 24 July 1996: Code of Conduct

“This House approves the Third Report from the Committee on Standards and Privileges, House of Commons Paper No. 604, and in particular—

approves the Code of Conduct prepared pursuant to the Resolution of the House of 19 July 1995,

approves the Guide to the Rules relating to the Conduct of Members, the modifications to the rules of the House contained therein, and the guidelines to the application of the Resolution of the House of 6 November 1995, (Conduct of Members) contained in paragraph 58 of the Guide, and

authorises the Committee on Standards and Privileges to make such minor amendments to the Guide to the Rules as appear to it to be justified by experience or necessarily reflect decisions of the House; and to report such amended versions of the Guide to the House.”

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Resolution of 14 May 2002, amended on 9 February 2009: Code of Conduct

“(1) This House approves the Ninth Report from the Committee on Standards and Privileges (House of Commons Paper No. 763), A new Code of Conduct and Guide to the Rules;

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(4) the Code of Conduct and the Guide to the Rules relating to the Conduct of Members (House of Commons Paper No. 688 (1995–96)) shall be amended as proposed in Annex 2 to the Report; and

(5) the registration forms submitted for the next published Register of Members’ Financial Interests shall comply with the new rules on the registration of Members’ interests; and any requirement under the new rules to register an interest which is not registrable now shall come into force on the publication of the next Register.”

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Resolution of 13 July 2005: Standards and Privileges

“That this House takes note of the Fourth Report of the Committee on Standards and Privileges, Session 2004–05 (House of Commons Paper No. 472), and approves the revised Code of Conduct set out in the Annex to the Report.”

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Resolution of 27 March 2008, amended on 9 February 2009: Standards and Privileges

“That this House approves the Seventh Report of the Committee on Standards and Privileges (House of Commons Paper No. 436) on Employment of family members through the Staffing Allowance; and endorses the changes proposed by the Committee in the purpose and form of the Register of Members’ Financial Interests.”

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Resolution of 9 February 2009: Guide to the Rules Relating to the Conduct of Members

“(1) That, subject to paragraphs (2) and (3) below, this House approves the Fourth Report of the Committee on Standards and Privileges (House of Commons Paper No. 208) and the revised Guide to the Rules Relating to the Conduct of Members annexed thereunto;

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(3) That the threshold for registering interests under category 4 (Sponsorships) shall be the statutory threshold for the time being applying to the reporting of donations by hon. Members to the Electoral Commission;

(4) That the revised Guide shall take effect on such date as section 59 of the Electoral Administration Act 2006 shall come into force;

(5) That the Register of Members’ Interests shall be renamed the Register of Members’ Financial Interests and the Registrar of Members’ Interests shall be known as the Registrar of Members’ Financial Interests;

(6) Accordingly, in each place where they occur in any Standing Order, Order or Resolution of the House:

for “Register of Members’ Interests” there shall be substituted “Register of Members’ Financial Interests”; and

for “Registrar of Members’ Interests” there shall be substituted “Registrar of Members’ Financial Interests”.

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Resolution of 12 March 2012: Code of Conduct

“That this House takes note of the Nineteenth Report of the Committee on Standards and Privileges (HC 1579), and approves the revised Code of Conduct set out in the Annex to the Report ...”

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Resolution of 17 March 2015: Code of Conduct and Guide to the Rules Relating to the Conduct of Members

(1) This House approves the Third Report from the Committee on Standards, on The Code of Conduct (HC 772);

(2) with effect from the beginning of the next Parliament, this House approves the revised Guide to the Rules relating to the Conduct of Members annexed to that Report;

(3) the Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament be amended as follows:

(a) leave out Paragraph 2 and insert

‘The Code applies to Members in all aspects of their public life. It does not seek to regulate what Members do in their purely private and personal lives’.

(b) leave out paragraph 17; and

(4) previous Resolutions of this House in relation to the conduct of Members shall be read and given effect in a way which is compatible with the Code of Conduct and the Guide to the Rules relating to the Conduct of Members.

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Resolution of 19 July 2018: Independent Complaints and Grievance Policy

Resolved, That this House approves the Second Report from the Committee on Standards, Independent Complaints and Grievance Policy: Implementation, HC 1396, and the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme Delivery Report and its proposals for ensuring clear standards for all who work in or visit Parliament, and, in particular:

(1) endorses the Behaviour Code and the policies and procedures relating to bullying and harassment and sexual harassment associated with the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme set out in the Delivery Report;

(2) agrees the following amendments to The Code of Conduct:

in Section IV (General Principles of Conduct), after paragraph 8 insert the following new paragraph:

“Parliamentary Behaviour Code

Members are also expected to observe the principles set out in the Parliamentary Behaviour Code of respect, professionalism, understanding others’ perspectives, courtesy, and acceptance of responsibility.”;

in Section V (Rules of Conduct), add the following new rule as Rule 17:

“Respect

A Member must treat their staff and all those visiting or working for or with Parliament with dignity, courtesy and respect.”;

(3) agrees the following changes to Standing Orders:

A. Standing Order No. 149 (Committee on Standards)

in paragraph (5), at end insert “save as specified in paragraph (5A) of this Order”;

after paragraph (5) insert new paragraph (5A) of this Order:

“(5A) It shall be an instruction to the Committee that before dividing on any motion, the Committee should hold an indicative vote of lay and elected members to ascertain the views on the motion of the Committee as a whole and of each member present; that such a vote should be conducted as if it were a formal division; that, as in a formal division, the Chair should not take part in the initial vote but should have a casting vote in the event of a tie; that after holding such a vote the results should be recorded in the Committee’s formal minutes, without question put; and that after holding such a vote the Committee may or may not proceed to a formal division of elected Members.”;78

B. Standing Order No. 150 (Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards)

in paragraph (2), at end add the following new sub-paragraph:“

“(f) to consider cases arising from the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme”;

in paragraph (4), at end add the following new sub-paragraph:

“(c) in any case arising from the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme where the Commissioner has proposed remedial action within any procedure approved by the Committee with which the Member concerned has complied or, if the remedy is prospective, undertaken to comply”;

(4) recognises the role of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards to consider cases arising from the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme; notes the arrangements about publishing the details of investigations of such cases to ensure complaints are handled confidentially as set out in the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme Delivery Report; and accordingly agrees that, for consistency and fairness, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards should no longer routinely publish information about individual investigations before those investigations are concluded and accordingly agrees to amend sub-paragraph (b) of paragraph (12) of Standing Order No. 150 by inserting “statistical” before “information” and leaving out “and matters under investigation”;

(5) recognises that Dame Laura Cox QC is conducting an independent inquiry into the allegations of bullying and harassment of House of Commons staff, whose Terms of Reference were published on 23 April 2018; notes that the inquiry relies upon past and present staff members coming forward with information in person or in writing; notes further that the inquiry, while not investigating any individual complaints or reopening past cases, will consider what options are available for resolving current or historical allegations and providing support to those affected; accordingly agrees that a further independent inquiry in similar terms be established, by the Clerk of the House in consultation with the relevant authorities in the House of Lords as appropriate, to consider allegations of bullying and harassment in respect of those individuals including MPs and their staff, where those allegations are not in scope of the Dame Laura Cox QC inquiry; and directs that the inquiry should report directly to the House in time for its findings to be taken into account in the 6 month review of the scheme established under paragraph (6) of this motion;

(6) endorses the proposal in the report that there should be reviews of the new arrangements at 6 months and 18 months, and invites the Leader of the House to propose the establishment of a review body, including staff representation, to the House of Commons Commission for their consideration and agreement, in consultation with the relevant authorities in the House of Lords as appropriate; those reviews should incorporate (a) the findings of the independent review set up under paragraph (5) of this motion and (b) the findings of the Dame Laura Cox QC inquiry which deals with matters relating to staff of the House;

(7) directs the Accounting Officer to meet those costs of the inquiry under paragraph (5) and the reviews under paragraph (6) falling to the House of Commons from the House of Commons (Administration) Vote.

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Resolution of 7 January 2019: Committee on Standards (Fifth Report)

Resolved, That this House approves the Fifth Report of the Committee on Standards, Implications of the Dame Laura Cox report for the House’s standards system: Initial proposals, HC 1726, and agrees the following changes to Standing Orders and to the Guide to the Rules relating to the Conduct of Members as approved by the House on 17 March 2015:

Standing Order No. 149 (Committee on Standards)

(i) in paragraph (5), line 3, leave out from “witnesses,” to end and add “may move motions and amendments to motions or draft reports, and may vote.”;

(ii) leave out paragraph (5A);

Guide to the Rules relating to the Conduct of Members

Chapter 4: Procedure for inquiries

(i) Leave out paragraph 6(b) and insert –

“b) be in writing or by email, and provide the complainant’s name and full postal address; and”;

(ii) Leave out paragraph 11.—(Andrea Leadsom.)

The Deputy Speaker announced a time limit on backbench speeches (Standing Order No. 47(1)).

Resolved, That this House approves the Fifth Report of the Committee on Standards, Implications of the Dame Laura Cox report for the House’s standards system: Initial proposals, HC 1726, and agrees the following changes to Standing Orders and to the Guide to the Rules relating to the Conduct of Members as approved by the House on 17 March 2015:

Standing Order No. 149 (Committee on Standards)

in paragraph (5), line 3, leave out from “witnesses,” to end and add “may move motions and amendments to motions or draft reports, and may vote.”;

leave out paragraph (5A);

Guide to the Rules relating to the Conduct of Members

Chapter 4: Procedure for inquiries

Leave out paragraph 6(b) and insert –

“b) be in writing or by email, and provide the complainant’s name and full postal address; and”;

(ii) Leave out paragraph 11.


77 “Activity constituting paid advocacy would be outside our proposed rules and should therefore cease from the start of the new Parliamentary session (1995–96).”

78 The italicised text was removed from the Standing Order by the decision of the House of 7 January 2019: see below.




Published: 10 October 2019