CODE OF CONDUCT
(adopted by Resolution of the House 2
amended 24 July 2001; came into effect 31 March 2002)
Purpose of the Code
1. The purpose of this Code of Conduct is:
(a) to provide guidance
for members of the House of Lords on the standards of conduct
expected of them in the discharge of their parliamentary and public
(b) to provide the openness and accountability
necessary to reinforce public confidence in the way in which members
of the House of Lords perform their parliamentary and public duties.
2. This Code applies to all members of the House
of Lords who have not taken leave of absence.
3. By virtue of their oath, or affirmation, of
allegiance, members of the House have a duty to be faithful and
bear true allegiance to Her Majesty The Queen, Her heirs and successors,
according to law.
4. Members of the House:
(a) must comply with
the Code of Conduct;
(b) should act always on their personal honour;
(c) must never accept any financial inducement
as an incentive or reward for exercising parliamentary influence;
(d) must not vote on any bill or motion, or ask
any question in the House or a committee, or promote any matter,
in return for payment or any other material benefit (the "no
paid advocacy" rule).
5. Members of the House should observe the seven
general principles of conduct identified by the Committee on Standards
in Public Life. The seven principles are:
Holders of public office should take decisions solely in terms
of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain
financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family,
or their friends.
(b) Integrity: Holders of public office
should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation
to outside individuals or organisations that might influence them
in the performance of their official duties.
(c) Objectivity: In carrying out public
business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts,
or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders
of public office should make choices on merit.
(d) Accountability: Holders of public
office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the
public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate
to their office.
(e) Openness: Holders of public office
should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions
that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and
restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly
(f) Honesty: Holders of public office
have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their
public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising
in a way that protects the public interest.
(g) Leadership: Holders of public office
should promote and support these principles by leadership and
Primacy of the public interest
6. In the conduct of their parliamentary duties,
members of the House shall resolve any conflict between their
personal interest and the public interest in favour of the public
Register of Interests
7. There shall be established a register of Lords'
interests referred to in this Code. The register shall be maintained
under the authority of the Clerk of the Parliaments by a Registrar
appointed by him.
A member of the House must register relevant
interests before 31st March 2002 and thereafter within one month
of acquiring them.
The register shall be available for public inspection
in accordance with arrangements made by the Registrar. The register
shall be regularly updated and shall be reprinted annually. The
annual publication shall include all interests registered since
the previous edition and all continuing interests unless their
termination has been notified to the Registrar.
Registration and Declaration of Relevant Interests
8. Members of the House must:
(a) register in
the Register of Lords' Interests all relevant interests,
in order to make clear what are the interests that might reasonably
be thought to influence their actions;
(b) declare when speaking in the House,
or communicating with ministers, government departments or executive
agencies, any interest which is a relevant interest in the context
of the debate or the matter under discussion. This is necessary
in order that their audience may form a balanced judgment of their
arguments. In cases where members of the House vote in a division
where they have a relevant interest that they have not been able
to declare, they should register that interest within 24 hours
of the division.
What is a relevant interest?
9. The test of relevant interest is whether the
interest might reasonably be thought by the public to affect the
way in which a member of the House of Lords discharges his or
her parliamentary duties.
10. The test of relevant interest is therefore
not whether a member's actions in Parliament will be influenced
by the interest, but whether the public might reasonably think
that this might be the case.
11. Relevant interests include both financial
and non-financial interests.
Relevant financial interests
12. The following financial interests are always
relevant and therefore must be registered:
(a) any consultancy agreement
under which members of the House provide parliamentary advice
or services. A copy of any such agreement, and the remuneration
received by members for advice in relation to parliamentary matters,
must be deposited with the Registrar of Lords' Interests, so that
details are available for public inspection.
(b) employment or any other financial interest
in businesses involved in parliamentary lobbying on behalf of
clients, including public relations and law firms but members
of the House involved with organisations that offer commercial
lobbying services are not obliged to refrain from participating
in parliamentary business in connection with all clients
of that organisation but only their personal clients;
(c) any remunerated service which members of
the House provide by virtue of their position as members of Parliament,
and the clients of any such service;
(d) employment as a non-parliamentary consultant;
(e) remunerated directorships;
(f) regular remunerated employment (excluding
occasional income from speeches, lecturing, broadcasting and journalism);
(g) shareholdings amounting to a controlling
(h) provision by an outside body of secretarial
and research assistance;
(i) visits with costs paid in the United Kingdom
and overseas, made as a member of Parliament, except any visits
paid for from public funds.
13. The list in paragraph 12 above is not exhaustive.
For example, relevant financial interests may also include
(depending on their significance):
(a) shareholdings not
amounting to a controlling interest;
(b) landholdings (excluding members' homes);
(c) the financial interests of a spouse or relative
(d) hospitality or gifts given to a member which
could reasonably be regarded as an incentive to support a particular
cause or interest.
14. Except for remuneration received by members
for advice in relation to parliamentary matters, members of the
House are not required to disclose how much they earn from the
financial interests set out in paragraphs 12 and 13, but they
may do so if they wish.
Relevant non-financial interests
15. The following non-financial interests are
always relevant and therefore must be registered:
(a) membership of public
bodies such as hospital trusts, the governing bodies of universities,
colleges and schools, and local authorities;
(b) trusteeships of museums, galleries or similar
(c) acting as an office-holder or trustee in
pressure groups or trade unions;
(d) acting as an office-holder or trustee in
voluntary or not-for-profit organisations.
16. The list in paragraph 15 above is not exhaustive.
For example, relevant non-financial interests may also include
(depending on their significance):
17. Members of the House are not obliged to register
membership of Churches, religious bodies and quasi-religious organisations.
But it may be necessary to declare such interests (see
18. The operation of the register shall be overseen
by a Sub-Committee of the Committee for Privileges on Lords' Interests
and the Registrar shall consult the Sub-Committee when necessary.
The Registrar is available to advise members of the House. A member
who acts on the advice of the Registrar in determining what is
a relevant interest satisfies fully the requirements of the Code
Enforcement of the Code of Conduct
19. Allegations of non-compliance with this Code
are dealt with as follows:
(a) Any allegation should
normally be raised first with the member complained against. However,
there may be circumstances when it is more appropriate to raise
the matter with a party Leader or Chief Whip, or the Convenor
of the Cross Bench Peers.
(b) If the complainant chooses to pursue the
matter, he or she should refer the allegation in private directly
to the Sub-Committee on Lords' Interests, through its chairman.
(c) The Sub-Committee will then examine the allegation
and may decide to investigate it further or to dismiss it.
(d) In the investigation and adjudication of
complaints against them, members of the House have the right to
safeguards as rigorous as those applied in the courts and professional
(e) If after investigation the Sub-Committee
finds the allegation proved, the member complained against has
a right of appeal to the Committee for Privileges.
(f) The conclusions of the Sub-Committee and
of the Committee for Privileges are reported to the House.
20. Paragraph 7 shall have effect forthwith;
the remainder of this Code shall have effect from 31st March 2002;
and the resolution of the House of 7th November 1995 on the practice
of the House in relation to Lords' interests shall cease to have
effect on the same date.