By the Registrar of Lords' Interests
The Code of Conduct adopted by the House on 30 November
2009 established a new Register of Lords' Interests. The application
of the Code is explained in the Guide to the Code adopted by the
House on 30 March 2010. The Guide sets out that the purpose of
the Register is "to assist in openness and accountability
by enabling Members to make clear what are the interests that
might be thought by a reasonable Member of the public to influence
their actions, speeches or votes in Parliament, or actions taken
in their capacity as Members of the House of Lords" and established
the ten categories of registerable interest.
Publication and up-dating
This Register is printed and published in book form soon
after the beginning of a new Parliament, and annually thereafter.
The Code says that "Members are responsible for ensuring
that their registered interests are accurate and up-to-date. They
should register any change in their relevant interests within
one month of the change." The Register in book form thus
quickly goes out of date, so the Register is updated daily when
the House is sitting, and is published online at www.parliament.uk.
This up-to-date online edition of the Register is also available
in loose-leaf form for inspection by Members at the Table of the
House, in the Table Office, and in the Library; and by the public
in the Search Room of the Parliamentary Archives.
The Guide explains that relevant interests may be financial
or non-financial: "The key consideration in determining relevance
in respect of both registration and declaration of an interest
is that the interest might be thought by a reasonable member of
the public to influence the way in which a Member of the House
of Lords discharges his or her parliamentary duties. In the case
of registration, this means the Member's parliamentary duties
in general; in the case of declaration, his or her duties in respect
of the particular matter under discussion. A "reasonable
member of the public" is taken to mean an impartial and well-informed
person, who judges all the relevant facts in an objective manner."
The Code says that a Member who acts on the advice of the Registrar
in determining what is a relevant interest satisfies fully the
requirements of the Code of Conduct in that regard. The final
responsibility for deciding whether or not to participate in proceedings
to which that interest is relevant rests however with the Member
Categories of registerable interests
The Guide establishes the following ten categories of
registrable interest. The general threshold for financial interests
is £500, subject to paragraphs 39-42 of the Guide and higher
thresholds for specific categories.
Category 1: Directorships
Remunerated directorships in public and private companies,
including non-executive directorships, and including directorships
which are not directly remunerated, but where remuneration is
paid through another company in the same group
Category 2: Remunerated employment etc.
Employment, office, trade, profession or vocation which is
remunerated or in which the Member has any pecuniary interest
Category 3: Public affairs advice and services to clients
In respect of remunerated interests registered in categories
1 or 2, any provision to clients of public affairs advice and
Category 4: Shareholdings
Any shareholding either a) amounting to a controlling interest,
or b) not amounting to a controlling interest, but exceeding £50,000
Category 5: Land and property
Any land or property a) which has a capital value of more
than £250,000 (but excluding any personal residences of Members
and their spouses), or b) from which an income of more than £5,000
a year is derived.
Category 6: Sponsorship
Any form of financial or material support received as a Member
of the House of Lords, the value of which amounts to more than
£500, from a single source, whether as a single donation,
multiple donations, or services in kind.
Category 7: Overseas visits
Overseas visits made by the Member or the Member's spouse
substantially arising out of membership of the House, except where
the cost of the visit was wholly borne by the Member or by United
Kingdom public funds.
Category 8: Gifts, benefits and hospitality
Any gift to the Member or the Member's spouse or partner,
or any other material benefit, of a value greater than £500,
from any company, organisation or person, within the UK or overseas,
which relates substantially to membership of the House.
Category 9: Miscellaneous financial interests
Any relevant financial interest not falling within one of
the above categories, but which might be thought by a reasonable
member of the public to influence a Member's parliamentary conduct.
Category 10: Non-financial interests
Certain non-financial interests may reasonably be thought
to affect the way Members of the House of Lords discharges their
public duties, and must therefore be registered in this category.
The following non-financial interests are always relevant and
therefore must be registered:
a) Unremunerated directorships or other regular employment;
Other non-financial interests are not normally registered, though
it may be necessary in certain circumstances to declare them.
b) Membership of public bodies such as hospital trusts, the
governing bodies of universities, colleges or schools, local authorities
and other spheres of government;
c) Trusteeships of museums, galleries or similar bodies;
d) Acting as an office-holder or trustee in pressure groups
or trade unions; and
e) Acting as an office-holder or trustee in voluntary or not-for-profit
Oversight and review
The operation of the Register is overseen
by the Sub-Committee on Lords' Conduct. The Sub-Committee keeps
the Guide to the Code of Conduct under regular review and reviews
the Code of Conduct itself once each Parliament. The House itself
must agree any change to either the Guide or Code.
Registrar of Lords' Interests
18 June 2010