Companion to the Standing Orders and guide to the Proceedings of the House of Lords


4.86  The House has resolved that, in the opinion of this House, the following principles should govern the conduct of Ministers of the Crown in relation to Parliament:

    (1)  Ministers have a duty to Parliament to account, and be held to account, for the policies, decisions and actions of their Departments and Executive Agencies;

    (2)  It is of paramount importance that Ministers should give accurate and truthful information to Parliament, correcting any inadvertent error at the earliest opportunity. Ministers who knowingly mislead Parliament will be expected to offer their resignation to the Prime Minister;

    (3)  Ministers should be as open as possible with Parliament, refusing to provide information only when disclosure would not be in the public interest;

    (4)  Ministers should require civil servants who give evidence before Parliamentary Committees on their behalf and under their directions to be as helpful as possible in providing accurate, truthful and full information;

    (5)  The interpretation of "public interest" in paragraph (3) shall be decided in accordance with statute and the Government's Code of Practice on Access to Government Information;[164] and compliance with the duty in paragraph (4) shall be in accordance with the duties and responsibilities of civil servants set out in the Civil Service Code.[165]

164   This Code was completely superseded by the Freedom of Information Act 2000, and had no effect after 1 January 2005. Back

165   HL Deb. 20 March 1997 cols 1055-62; LJ (1996-97) 404. Back

previous page contents next page

House of Lords home page Parliament home page House of Commons home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2007