Working Group Report on Standards of Conduct in the House of Lords Report

Letter from Lord Williams of Mostyn QC to the Leader of the House of Lords

  You appointed us on 17 January 2001 as a working group to consider the recommendations of the Committee on Standards in Public Life on standards of conduct in the House of Lords ("the Neill Committee"). You asked us to report within three months.

  I now present the Group's report to you.

  In the case of all but one of the Neill Committee's recommendations, we have been able to agree unanimously. In the case of Neill recommendation 15, which deals with the obligation to disclose remuneration derived from parliamentary consultancies, we have had to agree by a majority vote.

  We agreed unanimously to Neill recommendation 8 that a Member of the House who registers a relevant interest as defined by Neill should not be required to disclose in the Register of Interests the remuneration received from that interest. But a majority of us also decided that Members of the House should have the discretion to disclose the remuneration, if they wish to do so.

  In drawing up the list of interests which clearly should be registered (see paragraphs 11 and 12 of the proposed code of conduct), we were able to reach a substantial measure of agreement. But in the case of some interests, we have been able to decide only by a majority vote that the interests are clearly registrable. In the proposed code, these disputed interests are indicated by square brackets. The disputed interests are not accepted by Lords Elton and Kingsland.

  We hope that the House will find our report and proposed code of conduct useful when it comes to decide whether and how to give effect to the recommendations of the Neill Committee.

Williams of Mostyn

Chairman of the working group

10 April 2001

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