Select Committee on Privileges Second Report

Declaration of Relevant Interests when Communicating with Ministers

1.  The Sub-Committee on Lords' Interests has considered a complaint against Lord Hoyle. The Sub-Committee's report is printed in the Appendix.[1]

2.  The background to this complaint is as follows: on 26 October 2007 a number of allegations relating to Lord Hoyle appeared in the Guardian newspaper. Shortly after, on 16 November, a Guardian reporter, Mr Rob Evans, wrote to the Registrar of Lords' Interests, claiming that Lord Hoyle had breached the House's Code of Conduct, and asking that the matter be referred to the Sub-Committee on Lords' Interests. In support of the allegations Mr Evans enclosed a considerable amount of written material.

3.  The Registrar forwarded the letter and supporting material to the Sub-Committee Chairman, who took the view that, in the interests of the House and of Lord Hoyle himself, he should put the complaint before the Sub-Committee for more detailed investigation.

4.  The complaint relates primarily to section 8(b) of the Code of Conduct, which requires that Members must "declare when speaking in the House, or communicating with ministers, government departments or executive agencies, any interest which is a relevant interest." It also has a bearing on section 4(d) of the Code, which requires that Members "must not … promote any matter, in return for payment or any other material benefit (the 'no paid advocacy' rule)".

5.  The Sub-Committee has concluded that there was no deliberate misconduct by Lord Hoyle, and has therefore not upheld the complaint against him. We endorse this conclusion, and recommend no further action.

6.  We have noted the Sub-Committee's observation that in the course of its investigation "some fundamental questions have arisen about the appropriate way to handle complaints against Members of the House". We shall bring forward recommendations with a view to clarifying these matters in the near future.

1   Given the nature of the complaint against Lord Hoyle, Lord Woolf, as Chairman of the Sub-Committee, drew Lord Hoyle's attention to the fact that he was chairing an independent committee set up to review arms maker BAE Systems' business ethics. Lord Hoyle agreed to Lord Woolf conducting the investigation. Back

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