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