1. On 17 January 2001 the Leader of the
House (B. Jay of Paddington) announced in a written answer
that she had appointed us
to report to her on the recommendations of the Committee on Standards
in Public Life ("the Neill Committee") on standards
of conduct in the House of Lords.
2. The Neill Committee has made 23 recommendations.
It draws attention to public expectations that there will be clear
and explicit undertakings from persons in public life on conduct
and conflict of interests. Members of the House of Lords are prominent
in public life. They have therefore, according to the Neill Committee,
a particular duty to meet, and to be seen to meet, public expectations.
3. The Neill Committee acknowledged early
in its report that its decision to undertake an enquiry into the
House of Lords was not prompted by any scandal or crisis.
We wish to emphasise this point at the outset of our own report.
There has been no loss of public confidence in standards of conduct
in the House of Lords, and we are not aware of any instances of
misconduct by Members of the House in relation to their parliamentary
duties. Indeed, in the six years of its existence, the Sub-Committee
on Lords' Interests, which is charged with investigating allegations
of failure to register interests which the rules require to be
registered, has met only three times;
and no meeting was in connection with allegations of failure to
abide by the rules.
4. Nevertheless, there are good reasons
why the Neill Committee's recommendations should not be rejected
as unnecessary. These reasons include:
5. In order to evaluate the Neill Committee's
recommendations, it is necessary to understand the main features
of the present regulatory regime on disclosure of interests in
the House of Lords. This regime is based on two resolutions agreed
to by the House on 7 November 1995. These resolutions embody the
recommendations of a sub-committee appointed by the Procedure
Committee in December 1994, and chaired by Lord Griffiths, a Lord
(b) a long-standing custom, that Members
with a direct financial interest in a subject on which they speak
in the House should declare it. Members should also declare any
non-financial interest of which their audience should be aware
in order to form a balanced judgment of their arguments. Such
interest may be indirect or non-pecuniary
(c) a register of interests, containing two
mandatory categories and one discretionary category, as follows:
1. consultancies, or any similar
arrangements, whereby Members of the House accept payment or other
incentive or reward for providing parliamentary advice or services
2. any financial interests of Members
of the House in businesses involved in parliamentary lobbying
on behalf of clients (registration mandatory);
3. any other particulars which Members
of the House wish to register relating to matters which they consider
may affect the public perception of the way in which they discharge
their parliamentary duties (registration discretionary)
There are strict limits on how Members who have
registered interests in categories 1 or 2 can participate in parliamentary
7. There is an important distinction between
item (b) above, declaration of interest, and item (c),
registration of interest. All interests falling within
the mandatory categories must be registered but only those interests
germane to a particular debate or communication with ministers
must be declared in it. Different opinions have been expressed
about the relative importance of declaration and registration.
Declaration is directed primarily at those who are listening to
a speech in the House, whereas registration is helpful also to
those outside the House, who can consult a public record of interests.
A register is also valuable in the case of a Member who votes
following a debate in which he has not spoken and who has not
therefore had the opportunity to declare the interest.
THE NEILL COMMITTEE'S RECOMMENDATIONS
8. We consider below the Neill Committee's
recommendations in turn.
Neill Recommendation 1: the House
of Lords should adopt a short code of conduct.
9. In the past ten years many Parliaments
based on the Westminster model have introduced a code of conduct
for their Members.
The House of Commons did so in 1996. A code of conduct serves
two purposes. The first is to provide clear, consistent and common
guidance for Members. The second is to contribute to the openness
and accountability necessary to ensure public confidence in the
way in which Members perform their parliamentary duties.
10. A code of conduct can help to reduce
Members' uncertainty and possible confusion about their obligations
to reveal their interests. It can also provide them with a persuasive
defence against allegations of misconduct, since a payment or
advantage, duly registered in accordance with the code of conduct,
could hardly be regarded as improper. The public expects persons
in public life to observe the highest possible standards of conduct.
A code helps to maintain public confidence and provides a measure
against which the public can judge how standards are being met.
11. The House of Lords already has a form
of code of conduct in the resolutions described in paragraphs
5 to 6 above, supplemented by advice from the Registrar and the
Sub-Committee on Lords' Interests. But the resolutions and conventions
on standards of conduct are not in a readily accessible form that
can be understood by the ordinary citizen as well as by Members
of the House.
A short code in the form of a pocket guide would bring clarity
12. A more prescriptive code of conduct
for the House of Lords might bring disadvantages. Some Members
of the House described these to the Neill Committee. They included:
creating the impression that there had been wrongdoing in the
past; the danger of putting people off wanting to become Members;
and reducing the scope for Members to rely on their honour and
sense of what is right and wrong. On the other hand, every other
parliamentary body in the United Kingdom has adopted a code of
conduct, in particular the House of Commons. There are important
differences between the two Houses at Westminster,
but they share one common characteristic. This is the fact that
each House and its Members have the right to participate in the
legislative process, and to influence matters of national and
13. For the reasons set out above, we
have concluded that the House should be invited to accept Neill
recommendation 1 and agree that the House should adopt a code
of conduct as proposed by the Neill Committee. But this does
not mean that the House of Lords must have the detailed and complex
code of conduct and written guidance found in the Commons. The
House's particular circumstances must be taken into account; and
a code must be proportionate to the House's functions.
14. A code would be needlessly complex if
it were to try to forecast and identify every situation. So, following
the principles laid down by the Nicholls Committee,
we suggest that the code should be drafted in the form of statements
of principle, followed by particular examples. The statements
of principle should be able to accommodate novel situations when
they arise and the code will thus contain the flexibility needed
for the future. We have appended at Annex 1 a proposed code of
conduct that incorporates the Neill Committee's recommendations,
in some cases with modifications proposed by us. We hope that
the House will find this helpful in deciding what action to take.
Neill Recommendation 2: The Code should
incorporate both the Seven Principles of Public Life and the principles
adopted by the House of Lords in its 1995 Resolution, viz.
Members of the House should act
always on their personal honour; and
Members should never accept any
financial inducement or reward for exercising parliamentary influence.
15. The Seven Principles of Public Life
were stated in 1995 by the Committee on Standards in Public Life,
when Lord Nolan was chairman.
They are: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, honesty, accountability,
openness, and leadership. They are set out below.
The seven principles acquaint the general public and every person
in public life with the standards that are expected to be upheld.
It will be immediately obvious that in the main these principles
are already to be found in the House of Lords' present regulatory
regime. Some merit further examination.
16. The principle of openness requires a
balance to be struck between disclosure and personal privacy.
So far as personal privacy is concerned, we consider that Members
of the House in their activities outside Parliament have a right
to the same degree of privacy as other citizens, when those activities
have no bearing on their role as Members of Parliament. Few
Members of the House would wish to see a code of conduct that
was unnecessarily intrusive. At the same time, the House has always
accepted that the personal interests of a Member should be disclosed
in relevant circumstances. Under the existing rules, for
example, the interests may be both financial and non-financial
and may extend beyond the Member to his family and friends.
In view of the exceptional position which Members of the Lords
hold in public life, and given that modern standards of probity
require its acceptance, we recommend that the House formally accept
the principle of openness in its code of conduct.
17. Constitutionally speaking, Members of
the House of Lords are answerable to no-one for their actions
in Parliament. They have no constituents to vote them out of office,
they cannot be expelled from the House
and they hold their seats for life.
The principle of accountability formulated by the Nolan Committee
would make Members "accountable for their decisions and actions
to the public" and Members would be required to "submit
themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office".
In some ways this would be a new departure for the House. On the
other hand, acceptance of the principle of accountability means,
according to the Neill report, that the public should have access
to the information "that enables them to understand the interests,
financial and non-financial, that may inform" a Member's
decisions and actions.
The House is well acquainted with this notion of disclosure, and
it forms part of its current rules. So we recommend that the House
should be invited to endorse formally in its code of conduct the
principle of accountability.
18. The seventh principle is leadership.
This requires persons in public life to promote and support the
other six principles by leadership and example. According to this
principle, Members must "operate at the highest level of
ethical probity as currently perceived and indeed set an example
throughout the public sector". We believe that Members of
the House already meet the requirements of this principle. It
should be formally incorporated into the proposed code of conduct.
19. We have concluded unanimously that the
House should be invited to accept Neill recommendation 2.
Neill Recommendation 3: The Code should
also incorporate the principles which the House of Lords adopts
concerning the registration of members' interests.
20. This recommendation really deals with
a matter of procedure, namely, incorporation into the code of
whatever decisions the House takes on the Neill Committee's later
recommendations, numbers 4 to 23.
Neill Recommendation 4: The registration
of all relevant interests should be made mandatory.
21. We have found this to be one of the
Neill Committee's most difficult and controversial recommendations.
The question is whether the discretionary element in category
3 of the Lords register of interests should be made mandatory.
We draw particular attention to the word "relevant".
It is vitally important. It means that the Neill Committee is
not suggesting unlimited or unreasonable disclosure of interests.
There is no question of Members of the House being compelled to
supply inappropriate private or personal information. Rather,
the proposal is that Members of the Lords should register only
those interests that may reasonably be thought to affect the public
perception of the way in which they discharge their parliamentary
duties (Neill recommendation 5). Thus Neill recommendation 4 need
not mean that a mandatory register in the Lords would contain
the same amount of detail now to be found in , say, the House
of Commons register of interests. The nature of the House of Lords,
the absence of allegations of abuse of office by Members of the
House, and the test of proportionality all suggest that the extensive
guidance governing the Commons' register would not be needed in
22. The Neill Committee has summarised the
arguments in favour of keeping the present voluntary status of
category 3 as follows:
the current register works well and
there have been no complaints;
Members of the House are unsalaried
and part-time, and it would be unduly burdensome and intrusive
to require Members who may attend only infrequently to provide
a comprehensive list of their interests;
some Members of the House will be
deterred from participating if compelled to register their interests,
and potential candidates for peerages might be deterred from accepting
mandatory registration could make
Members less careful to declare their interests;
there is no enforcement mechanism
to ensure that Members act in accordance with a mandatory register;
mandatory registration might lead
to politically-motivated allegations of failure to register.
23. The arguments in favour of a compulsory
category 3 are summarised by the Neill Committee as follows:
there is a growing culture and public
expectation of openness in public life and the House of Lords
is an important part of public life;
the Lords is one part of a bi-cameral
legislature and should adopt principles of openness similar to
those adopted by the other Chamber and by other public bodies;
the very fact that the Lords is unsalaried
reinforces the need for a compulsory register since there is a
greater likelihood that Members will have substantial outside
it would partly overcome the problem
of voting with an undeclared interest;
it would remove the inconsistency
and uncertainty created by the present register where the absence
of an entry can be construed as either absence of interests or
a decision not to disclose relevant interests;
it would provide a protection for
Members of the House.
24. Weighing these arguments demands careful
judgment. We have examined the arguments closely and at length.
We believe that it is unlikely that unanimity of opinion on them
would be reached in any large assembly. In recent years the public
has shown a growing interest in the House. We believe that
the House must take the steps necessary to demonstrate to those
outside the House that the highest standards of conduct are being
maintained. We are also concerned to protect the House against
possible suspicions of secretiveness or wrongdoing. All Members
of the House must be aware of a degree of public disillusionment
about Parliament. We believe that these arguments lead to the
conclusion that the balance of advantage supports a mandatory
register of relevant interests. We have reached this conclusion
unanimously. We believe that the House should be invited to
endorse our conclusion.
Neill Recommendation 5: The test of
"relevant interest" for registration under category
(3) should be whether the interest may reasonably be thought to
affect the public perception of the way in which a member of the
House of Lords discharges his or her parliamentary duties.
Neill Recommendation 6: Category (3)
should cover both financial and non-financial interests and such
interests should be distinguished in the lay-out of the Register.
Neill Recommendation 7: The Register
should be supplemented by brief written guidance setting out a
list of those interests which clearly fall within the test of
Neill Recommendation 8: A member of
the House of Lords who registers a relevant financial interest
under category (3) should not be required to disclose in the Register
the remuneration derived from that interest.
25. If the House accepts Neill recommendation
4 that the registration of all relevant interests should
be made mandatory, the question arises: what constitutes a relevant
interest? The existing category 3 test in the House of Lords is
subjective: it is left to individual Members of the House to decide.
As a result, the existing test has been criticised as loose, uncertain
Neill recommendation 5 puts forward a more objective test, measured
against what could reasonably be thought to affect public
perception of how a Member carries out his parliamentary duties.
This new test is intended by the Neill Committee to build on the
firm foundations of the existing rules on conduct.
We agree with Neill recommendation 5 and with the new definition
of relevant interest.
26. We have listed in the proposed code
of conduct in Annex 1 the interests that we believe are so fundamental
to the public perception of the way in which Members discharge
their parliamentary duties that, whenever the new definition of
relevant interest is applied, these interests will always be found
to be clearly registrable (paragraphs 11 and 14 of the code).
Some of these interests were suggested by the Neill Committee,
others are to be found in the House's 1995 resolutions; and in
most cases we have been able to agree unanimously that they fall
clearly within the test of relevant interest. However, in the
case of some interests, we have been able to decide only by a
that the interests are clearly registrable. In
the code these disputed interests are indicated by square brackets.
The House itself must determine the category into which these
various interests fall.
27. There are other interests that in our
opinion may or may not satisfy the new test of relevant interest,
depending on the significance of the interest. These less clearly
registrable interests are listed in paragraphs 12 and 15 of the
28. The lists that we have set out in the
proposed code of conduct would still leave to a Member's discretion,
applying the objective test, whether or not to register an interest
not listed in the code. We would anticipate that in most cases
Members of the House will already have reached under the subjective
test the same conclusions about what to register as the public
would reach under the objective test. So there should not be any
great new rush to add to the list of interests already registered.
29. In applying the objective test, Members
of the House must have guidance. Neill recommendation 7 proposes
that there should be set out, in brief written guidance supplementing
the Register, a list of interests which fall clearly within the
test of "relevant interest". We believe that it would
be handier for Members if an initial list is also included in
the code of conduct itself. The House should be invited to accept
Neill recommendation 7 with this modification. Our proposed code
of conduct includes lists of relevant interests and makes it clear
that category 3 should cover both financial and non-financial
interests (Neill recommendation 6). A Member of the House who
registers a relevant financial interest under category 3 is not
obliged (under Neill recommendation 8) to disclose any remuneration
derived from that interest. We agree. But a majority of us
also believes that Members should be able to do so if they wish.
The House should be invited to accept Neill recommendations 6
and 8, and to consider our amendment to 8.
Neill Recommendation 9: The mandatory
Register should apply to all members of the House of Lords.
Neill Recommendation: Rules on private
financial interests akin to those in the Ministerial Code should
not be applied to opposition spokesmen and women.
30. The present register of interests applies
equally to all Members of the House. The Neill Committee considered
whether any category of Member should be exempted from the requirement
to register relevant interests, for example bishops or law lords.
The evidence from Members of the House was greatly in favour of
treating all Members equally.
We can find no reason why this principle should not apply to a
mandatory register, so that all Members of the House (including
bishops and law lords) would be required to disclose relevant
interests (Neill recommendation 9). Neill recommendation 10
does not change the present regulatory regime. The House should
be invited to accept both recommendations.
Neill Recommendation 11: Members of
the House of Lords should continue to be allowed to hold parliamentary
consultancies, subject to the existing prohibition on paid advocacy.
Neill Recommendation 12: The guidance
on the operation of category (2) should be amended. It should
be made clear that the requirement to register is not confined
only to those members with interests in lobbying firms, narrowly
Neill Recommendation 13: The guidance
on the operation of category (2) should also be amended so as
to make it clear that members who register under that category
should refrain from participating in parliamentary business only
when that business relates to their own personal clients.
Neill Recommendation 14: A member
of the House of Lords who has an agreement for a consultancy or
any similar arrangement under category (1) should deposit a copy
of that agreement with the Registrar of Lords' Interests.
Neill Recommendation 15: The House
of Lords should ensure that deposited agreements and details as
to the remuneration derived from parliamentary services under
category (1) be made available for public inspection.
31. The present regulatory regime on disclosure
of interests imposes an absolute ban on paid advocacy, but permits
parliamentary consultancy agreements (mandatory registration under
category 1) and also financial interests in businesses engaged
in parliamentary lobbying (mandatory registration under category
2). Neill recommendation 11 proposes no change in this regard.
32. Neill recommendation 12 is intended
to make clear that category 2 applies not only to those Members
with financial interests in commercial lobbying businesses but
also other types of professional firms (law, accountancy, management,
etc) involved in parliamentary lobbying. So all Members with an
interest in any lobbying business and not just "public
affairs" or "political consultancy" firms must
register. This clarification does not involve a matter of principle,
although it may have the effect of drawing more Members of the
House into the ambit of category 2.
33. Neill recommendation 13 clarifies the
scope of category 2. Are Members of the House who are directors
or employees of parliamentary lobbying firms forbidden to participate
in parliamentary proceedings on issues relating to all
clients of the firm or only those clients with whom the Member
has a direct professional relationship? Neill recommendation 13
makes it clear that the prohibition relates only to Members' own
personal clients. This clarification has already been included
in the foreword to the latest Register of Lords' Interests, published
in March 2001, and we have also included it in our proposed code
34. The House should be invited to agree
to Neill recommendations 11 to 13.
35. Neill recommendations 14 (copy of consultancy
to be deposited) and 15 (remuneration from parliamentary services
to be disclosed) are intended to reassure the public about parliamentary
consultancies. Members who have an agreement registrable under
category 1 would be required to deposit a copy of the agreement
with the Registrar of Lords' Interests; and the agreements and
details of remuneration would be made available for public inspection.
36. We were all agreed on Neill recommendation
14, but some Members of our Group
dissented strongly from Neill recommendation 15, which would require
disclosure of remuneration derived from parliamentary services
under category 1 of the 1995 resolutions. Those who supported
Neill recommendation 15 took the view that category 1 interests
were so significant that total transparency was essential to reassure
the public that Members' conduct was beyond reproach. Those who
disagreed took the view that the limits on the parliamentary activity
of those with interests in category 1 were so restrictive that
the amount of money derived from those services was not relevant.
We were not able to reconcile these differences. We concluded
by a majority
that the House should be invited to agree to Neill recommendation
15, so that remuneration from a parliamentary consultancy should
be made available for public inspection.
37. We do not however believe that it would
be necessary to print the details of consultancies and remuneration
in the register. They should be available on request.
Neill Recommendation 16: The House
of Lords should reconsider the existing induction arrangements
for new members of the House with a view to providing more detailed
guidance about the scope and operation of the conduct rules.
Neill Recommendation 17: The general
advice of the Sub-Committee on Lords' Interests on the application
of the guidance on the declaration and registration of interests
should be reported, through the Committee for Privileges, to the
Neill Recommendation 18: Members should
be encouraged to raise in the first instance any allegation about
breaches of the rules in a private communication with the member
about whom the complaint is made.
Neill Recommendation 19: Thereafter,
if the complaining member chooses to pursue the matter, that member
should, in accordance with the Griffiths Committee's recommendation,
refer the allegation directly to the Sub-Committee on Lords' Interests,
through its Chairman.
Neill Recommendation 20: The Committee
sees no need for the appointment of a standing Parliamentary Commissioner
for Standards in the House of Lords but recommends that the Sub-Committee
on Lords' Interests should be able, in appropriate cases, to appoint
an ad hoc investigator.
Neill Recommendation 21: The Sub-Committee
on Lords' Interests should continue to be responsible for the
adjudication of allegations relating to the conduct of members.
Neill Recommendation 22: In serious
cases, the procedures adopted should meet the "minimum requirements
of fairness" set out by the Nicholls Committee for such cases.
Neill Recommendation 23: A member
of the House of Lords who receives an adverse ruling from the
Sub-Committee on Lords' Interests should have a right of appeal
to the Committee for Privileges.
38. These eight recommendations relate to
compliance with the rules on disclosure. The present system of
compliance has the virtue of simplicity. There is an induction
procedure at which the rules can be explained to new Members.
There is an authoritative source of advice: the Clerk of the Parliaments
and the Registrar. There is machinery for investigating alleged
breaches, namely, the Sub-committee on Lords' Interests appointed
by the Privileges Committee. There is an adjudication procedure
vested in the Sub-Committee. As explained above, this system has
never been applied because there have been no allegations of non-compliance
since it was established in 1995.
39. The Neill Committee detected in the
evidence given to them by Members of the House a desire for the
present induction procedures to be improved in order to give Members
more detailed guidance.
Although the Sub-Committee on Lords' Interests has rarely met,
it seems desirable that any general advice it gives on interpretation
of the rules should be available both inside the House and outside.
40. Neill recommendation 18 poses a difficult
issue relating to fair play and good manners, which are traditional
strengths of the House of Lords. It seems desirable both as a
courtesy and out of fairness that a complainant should raise any
concern about another Member's behaviour with the individual concerned
before taking the complaint to anyone else. The moment a complaint
is made officially, it is likely to be in the public domain and
could cause great damage to the accused, who might never have
been given a chance to explain himself, and who might be the victim
of politically-motivated malice. An accused Member should have
a chance to explain himself in private before being accused in
public. On the other hand, to oblige a Member in every case
to raise a complaint about another Member's behaviour directly
with that individual might discourage complaints from being made
at all. There is a difficult balance to strike. We have also considered
whether potential complainants should be able to seek advice on
whether their complaint was relevant before having to confront
the Member who they believed was behaving improperly. Many Members
of the House would wish to consult their party Leader or Chief
Whip, or the Convenor of the Cross Benches. We believe that they
should be able to do so.
41. We have concluded that any allegation
about breaches of the rules should normally be raised first with
the Member complained against. However, there may be circumstances
when it is more appropriate to raise the matter first with a party
Leader or Chief Whip, or the Convenor of the Cross Benches.
42. Once a complaint has been lodged, the
next step is preliminary investigation to decide whether it should
be proceeded with. In order to reduce the possibility of unfairness
to the accused Member, the Griffiths Committee recommended that
any complaint should go directly to the Sub-Committee on Lords'
Interests. The matter should not be raised on the floor of the
House. Neill recommendation 19 endorses this procedure and we
believe that the House should retain it.
43. At present, if an allegation of failure
to disclose an interest is made, the Sub-Committee on Lords' Interests
undertakes the investigation and adjudication. The Neill Committee
has concluded that the House of Lords does not need a Parliamentary
Commissioner for Standards, but has recommended (in Neill recommendation
20) that in complex or sensitive cases the Sub-Committee should
be able to have the assistance of an ad hoc independent investigator.
We believe that this is a valuable suggestion and we have considered
who this investigator might be. We have concluded that it would
not be appropriate to appoint someone from outside the House.
We recommend that three Members with relevant knowledge (drawn
possibly from among retired Law Lords or other legally qualified
Members) should be nominated as a standing panel of possible investigators
and the Sub-Committee could then choose one of them to investigate
any case which might arise. The advantage of such a standing panel
is that the machinery would already be in place should it ever
prove necessary for the Sub-Committee on Lords' Interests to investigate
a complaint against a Member. The continuing existence of the
panel would also help to reassure the public. It is implicit in
this suggestion that we agree with Neill recommendation 21 and
we recommend the House to endorse it. We believe that there should
be a general presumption that the meetings of the Sub-Committee
will be public (except for private deliberation); but if the Sub-Committee
wishes on occasions to keep its meetings secret, it should be
entitled to do so, provided it reports the reasons to the House.
44. In dealing with parliamentary privilege
and disciplinary proceedings against Members, the Nicholls Committee
proposed important minimum requirements of procedural fairness
for the accused Member:
a prompt and clear statement of the
precise allegations against the member;
adequate opportunity to take legal
advice and have legal assistance throughout;
the opportunity to be heard in person;
the opportunity to call relevant
witnesses at the appropriate time;
the opportunity to examine other
the opportunity to attend meetings
at which evidence is given, and to receive transcripts of evidence.
45. These are important safeguards not only
for Members but for Parliament itself. As the Nicholls report
has pointed out, proceedings in Parliament may fall within the
jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights, and if the
procedures adopted by Parliament when exercising its disciplinary
powers are not fair, the proceedings may be challenged.
The Neill Committee recommends the adoption of these minimum requirements
in serious cases of alleged misconduct. We would go further. To
allay any worries that Members of the House may have in agreeing
to the Neill Committee recommendations, we suggest that these
procedural safeguards should apply to all investigations into
alleged failures to disclose relevant interests in the House of
Lords. The House should be invited to endorse our suggestion
on Neill recommendation 22.
46. Procedural fairness also requires a
right of appeal. The appeal must be to a tribunal that has not
participated in the investigation and adjudication. We agree with
Neill recommendation 23 that a Member of the House who receives
an adverse ruling from the Sub-Committee on Lords' Interests should
have a right of appeal to the Privileges Committee (excluding
any members who were members of the Sub-Committee on Lords' Interests).
We believe that the House would be keen to endorse this recommendation.
The Privileges Committee should always report to the House the
outcome of any findings by the Sub-Committee on Lords' Interests
and of any appeal to it from those findings.
47. We recommend that the House be invited
to endorse Neill recommendations 16 to 23 with the modifications
we have set out above.
48. We believe, in most cases unanimously
but in some cases by a majority, that the House should be invited
to endorse the Neill Committee's recommendations as indicated
in this report. The points of disagreement among Members of the
Group are indicated in square brackets in the proposed code of
conduct printed at Annex 1.
ARCHER OF SANDWELL
WILLIAMS OF MOSTYN (Chairman)
WRIGHT OF RICHMOND
10 April 2001
1 Hansard, col WA 133. Back
L. Archer of Sandwell, L. Elton, B. Hamwee, L. Kingsland, L. Williams
of Mostyn (Chairman), L. Wright of Richmond. Back
Cm 4903-I. The chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public
Life at the time of its report on the House of Lords was Lord
Neill of Bladen QC. We use the term "the Neill Committee"
as a convenient short way of referring to it. The first chairman
of the Committee on Standards in Public Life was Lord Nolan, a
Lord of Appeal. The present chairman (since 1 March 2001) is Sir
Nigel Wicks. Back
Paragraph 1.7. Back
The Neill Committee noted that the Sub-Committee had met only
twice. The Sub-Committee met again in November 2000, after the
Neill Committee had reported. Back
The Sub-Committee was appointed to consider the practice of the
House in relation to financial and other interests of Members,
and in particular the case for a register of interests. The Sub-Committee
reported in July 1995: Procedure Committee, 3rd report, 1994-95,
HL Paper 90. Back
Examples of such interests are given later in the resolution and
are repeated in paragraph 4.64 of the Companion to the Standing
Orders. They include the interest of a relation or friend,
hospitality or gifts received, trusteeship, and unpaid membership
of an interested organisation. Back
See Companion, paragraph 4.61. Back
See, for example, the evidence of the Clerk of the Parliaments
to the Neill Committee, Vol 2, question 796. Back
eg Saskatchewan (1993), Tasmania (1996), the United Kingdom House
of Commons (1996), New South Wales (1998), the Scottish Parliament,
the Welsh and Northern Ireland Assemblies (1999-2000). Similar
developments have taken place in the professions and business
sector, eg the Greenbury Group on directors' remuneration and
the Hempel Committee on corporate governance. Back
This point was made by the Joint Committee on Parliamentary Privilege,
chaired by Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead (1999): HL Paper 43¸I
(1998-99). In our report we refer to the Joint Committee as the
"Nicholls Committee". Back
Lord Strathclyde described these differences to the Neill Committee:
QQ 2430-2438. Back
Paragraphs 378-379. Back
Standards in Public Life, Cm 2850 (May 1995), paragraph
In footnote 1 to paragraph 5 of Annex 1 (proposed code of conduct).
Although Members of the House of Lords are not in the strict sense
holders of public office, the Committee on Standards in Public
Life has always understood its terms of reference to include them
(see paragraphs 1.1 to 1.5 of the Neill Committee's report). Back
See footnote 2 to paragraph 6. Back
Nicholls Report, paragraph 272. Back
Except of course for the bishops, who retire from their sees on
reaching the age of seventy, and then cease to be Members of the
House. Membership of the House may be changed by statute, for
example, the House of Lords Act 1999. Back
Neill Committee report, paragraph 2.26. Back
See the terms of category 3 set out at paragraph 6(c) above. Back
See, for example, the comments of Members of the House quoted
in paragraph 5.46 of the Neill Committee report. Back
Neill Committee report, paragraph 5.47. Back
Paragraph 5.55. Back
L. Archer of Sandwell, B. Hamwee, L. Williams of Mostyn, L. Wright
of Richmond. Back
L. Archer of Sandwell, B. Hamwee, L. Williams of Mostyn, L. Wright
of Richmond. Back
Neill Committee report, paragraphs 5.60-5.62. Back
L. Elton, L. Kingsland. Back
L. Archer of Sandwell, B. Hamwee, L.Williams of Mostyn, L. Wright
of Richmond. Back
Neill Committee report, paragraph 7.22. Back
For example, if the complainant is a member of the general public. Back
See paragraph 11 above, footnote 1. Back
Nicholls Committee report, paragraph 284. Back