Letter to Baroness Prashar from Baroness
Royall of Blaisdon, Leader of the House, Thursday 12 February
Dear Baroness Prashar
I wrote to you on January 25 in relation to
allegations made against a number of Members of the House in that
day's Sunday Times newspaper.
As I said then, given the serious nature of
the allegations, I judged as Leader of the House that it would
be appropriate for the Sub-Committee on Lords Interests to investigate
the issues under the procedure agreed by the House last year.
I said that as this matter was of such importance to the House
and its reputation, I hoped you would agree that it would be appropriate
for the issue to be referred to the Sub-Committee in this way
rather than wait for a complaint.
You agreed to take the inquiry forward as a
matter of urgency, and I understand that the Sub-Committee's work
on this investigation is now proceeding.
Under the procedure for considering complaints
against Members which the House adopted last year, it is clear
that the Sub-Committee will not investigate complaints which might
involve the criminal law:
Para 11 (Point 6) of the procedure (The Code
of Conduct: procedure for considering complaints against MembersHouse
of Lords Committee for Privileges 4th Report of Session 2007-08
HL Paper 205) states:
"The Sub-Committee will not entertain complaints
which appear to involve allegations of criminal misconduct and
which would more appropriately be investigated by other agencies."
As you know, the Metropolitan Police Service
have been considering a request from Christopher Huhne MP for
the police to consider investigating whether an offence had been
committed by certain Members of the House. I informed the House
yesterday in an oral statement that the MPS has now decided not
to take its inquiries into this matter any further. The police
will therefore not be mounting an investigation into these issues,
or into any Members of the House in relation to the allegations
originally made by the Sunday Times.
With police involvement in these matters now
at an end unless further evidence or information comes to light,
the question of criminal misconduct, as mentioned in the procedure,
is removed. Accordingly, I am advised that it would now be appropriate
for a complaint to be lodged formally with the Sub-Committee in
relation to this matter.
As Leader of the House, I do now formally lodge
a complaint against the following Members: Lord Moonie, Lord Snape,
Lord Taylor of Blackburn and Lord Truscott. I regard this complaint
as formal, for the benefit of the Sub-Committee and in line with
the procedure. I should indicate that I do not regard tabling
this complaint as representing any new point in relation to these
Members of the House beyond my original referral of the allegations
to the Sub-Committee.
Accordingly, I invite the Sub-Committee to consider
whether the facts apparently disclosed by the Sunday Times
articles and allegations on 25 January 2009 constitute any
breach of the House of Lords Code of Conduct, in particular paragraphs
4, 5, 6, 8, 10 and 12.
I am, of course, ready to assist the Sub-Committee
in any way.
Rt Hon Baroness Royall of Blaisdon
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House