The Conduct of Lord Moonie, Lord Snape, Lord Truscott and Lord Taylor of Blackburn - Privileges Committee Contents

Letter to Baroness Prashar from Baroness Royall of Blaisdon, Leader of the House, Thursday 12 February 2009

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 Members—House 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not be mounting an investigation into these issues, or into any Members of the House in relation to the allegations originally made by the Sunday Times.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.

  Yours ever

Rt Hon Baroness Royall of Blaisdon

Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Lords

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