APPENDIX: GUIDE TO THE CODE OF CONDUCT |
1. This Guide explains the application of the House
of Lords Code of Conduct. Its purpose is to help Members discharge
the duties that the Code places upon them. The House has adopted
this Guide by resolution and it is binding on all Members.
2. The operation of the Code is overseen by the Sub-Committee
on Lords' Conduct, a Sub-Committee of the Committee for Privileges
and Conduct. The Sub-Committee is supported by the Registrar of
Lords' Interests, who is responsible for maintaining the Register
of Lords' Interests.
3. No written guidance can provide for all circumstances:
when in doubt Members should seek the advice of the Registrar
of Lords' Interests. The Registrar consults the Sub-Committee
when necessary. A Member who acts on the advice of the Registrar
in determining what the Member is required to register or declare
as a relevant interest fully satisfies the requirements of the
Code of Conduct as regards registration or declaration. While
the Registrar also advises on participation in parliamentary proceedings
where interests are concerned, the final responsibility for deciding
whether or not to participate in proceedings rests with the Member
4. The procedure for enforcing the Code of Conduct
is described later in this Guide. In summary, responsibility for
investigating alleged breaches of the Code rests with the House
of Lords Commissioner for Standards, who is an independent officer
appointed by the House as a whole. Following his investigation,
the Commissioner reports findings of fact to the Sub-Committee
on Lords' Conduct and offers his own conclusion on whether the
Code has been breached. The Sub-Committee reviews the Commissioner's
findings, may comment on them and, where appropriate, recommends
a sanction. The reports of the Commissioner and Sub-Committee
are presented to the Committee for Privileges and Conduct, and
the Member concerned has a right of appeal against both the Commissioner's
findings and any recommended sanction. Having heard any appeal,
the Committee for Privileges and Conduct reports to the House
and the final decision rests with the House.
5. Ministers of the Crown who are Members of the
House of Lords are subject to the Code of Conduct by virtue of
their membership of the House. Ministers are also subject to further
guidelines and requirements set out in the "Ministerial Code"
published by the Cabinet Office. The Cabinet Office, not the House
of Lords, enforces the Ministerial Code.
The remainder of this Guide is divided into six sections:
- general principles and rules of conduct;
- registration of interests;
- declaration of interests;
- use of facilities and services;
- financial support;
General principles and rules of conduct
6. In accordance with paragraph 5 of the Code of
Conduct, Members are required to sign an undertaking to abide
by the Code as part of the ceremony of taking the oath upon introduction
and at the start of each Parliament. A Member who has not signed
the undertaking is therefore deemed to have breached the Code,
and it will be for the Sub-Committee on Lords' Conduct to consider
an appropriate sanction.
7. Members are required both "to comply with
the Code of Conduct" (paragraph 8(a)), and to act always
"on their personal honour" (paragraph 8(b)). The term
"personal honour" has been explained by the Committee
for Privileges as follows:
"The term 'personal honour' has been used within
the House for centuries to describe the guiding principles that
govern the conduct of Members; its meaning has never been defined,
and has not needed definition, because it is inherent in the culture
and conventions of the House. These change over time, and thus
any definition of 'personal honour', while it might achieve temporary
'legal certainty', would quickly become out-moded
'personal honour' is ultimately an expression of the sense of
the House as a whole as to the standards of conduct expected of
Members cannot rely simply on their
own personal sense of what is honourable. They are required to
act in accordance with the standards expected by the House as
a whole. 'Personal honour' is thus
a matter for individual
Members, subject to the sense and culture of the House as a whole."
8. The Code of Conduct has been agreed by resolution
of the House, with a view to providing guidance for Members and
the public as to the standards of conduct the House expects of
its Members in the discharge of their parliamentary duties. But
a written Code can never cover every eventuality. Paragraphs 8(a)
and 8(b) of the Code, taken together, mean that Members are required
not only to obey the letter of the rules, but to act in accordance
with the spirit of those rules and the sense of the House.
The "general principles of conduct"
9. Paragraph 9 of the Code requires Members of the
House to observe the seven general principles of conduct set out
by the Committee on Standards in Public Life. These principles
apply to all aspects of public life, and provide the context within
which the House of Lords Code of Conduct is read and implemented.
10. Complaints will not be entertained solely on
the basis of alleged failures to abide by the seven principles
(unsupported by specific evidence of a breach of the Code). However,
these principles are taken into account when investigating any
alleged breach of the provisions in other sections of the Code.
Thus, for example, an allegation that a Member failed to register
a relevant interest would be investigated in the context of the
general duty of "honesty", namely that "Holders
of public office have a duty to declare any private interests
relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any
conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest".
Participation in parliamentary proceedings
11. In accordance with paragraph 15 of the Code a
Member with a relevant interest is free to take part in the public
business of the House subject to:
- the rules on financial inducements and parliamentary
influence (paragraph 8 of the Code);
- the rules on paid advocacy (paragraph 14
of the Code);
- the rules on the registration and declaration
of interests (paragraphs 10-12 of the Code); and
- the resolution of any conflict between personal
and public interest in favour of the public interest (paragraph
7 of the Code).
12. However, paragraph 15 goes on to state that "Members
of the House should be especially cautious in deciding whether
to speak or vote in relation to interests that are direct, pecuniary
and shared by few others." Such caution is especially required
where a financial interest is direct (the Member could personally
benefit as a direct result of the proceeding) and shared by few
others (the Member is one of a small group of people in society
who would so benefit).
13. More generally, a Member who is unsure whether
or not to participate in parliamentary proceedings in relation
to which he or she has relevant interests should consider the
· the nature of the proceeding itself. There
would, for instance, be more latitude in the case of a general
debate than in proposing or voting on an amendment to legislation.
Members with financial interests that are relevant to private
legislation should exercise particular caution, and seek advice
before deciding to participate in proceedings on that legislation.
· the nature of the Member's intended contribution.
A speech urging Government investment in a sector in which the
Member had a financial interest might be open to misconstruction,
whereas a speech canvassing issues of more general interest would
14. Members may consult the Registrar on these matters,
but as paragraph 23 of the Code makes clear, "the final responsibility
for deciding whether or not to participate in proceedings to which
that interest is relevant rests with the Member concerned".
Financial inducements and parliamentary influence
15. Members are required under paragraph 7 of the
Code to base their actions on consideration of the public interest.
Acceptance of financial inducement as an incentive or reward for
exercising parliamentary influence would necessarily contravene
this principle. Paragraph 8(c) of the Code therefore states that
Members "must never accept or agree to accept any financial
inducement as an incentive or reward for exercising parliamentary
16. Paragraph 8(d) of the Code describes the specific
application of the principles described in paragraphs 7 and 8(c):
Members "must not seek to profit from membership of the House
by accepting or agreeing to accept payment or other incentive
or reward in return for providing parliamentary advice or services".
17. Members of the House of Lords have a wide range
of outside interests and careers and the House thrives on their
expertise. The Code in no way seeks either to curtail these interests
or careers, or to discourage Members from drawing on the knowledge
and expertise so gained in their parliamentary work. It is thus
entirely appropriate for a Member of the House also to work in
any non-parliamentary sphere of activity, for example as chairman
or director of a company; as a member or chief executive of a
non-departmental public body; as an officer of a trade union;
as a doctor or lawyer. Moreover, it is not only permissible, but
desirable, that such Members, having declared their employment
and other interests, should contribute to debate on issues to
which these interests are relevant.
18. At the same time, in their parliamentary work,
and whenever they act in their capacity as parliamentarians, Members
are required to base their actions solely upon consideration of
the public interest. Members thus have a responsibility to maintain
a clear distinction between their outside interests and their
parliamentary work. It is incompatible with the maintenance of
this distinction for a Member, by offering parliamentary advice
or services to paying clients, to seek to profit from membership
of the House. The Code therefore prohibits Members from accepting
payment in return for parliamentary advice or services.
19. The prohibition from accepting payment in return
for parliamentary advice means that Members may not act
as paid parliamentary consultants, advising outside organisations
or persons on process, for example how they may lobby or otherwise
influence the work of Parliament. The following is not parliamentary
· advice on public policy and current affairs;
· advice in general terms about how Parliament
· media appearances, journalism, books,
public lectures and speeches.
20. Although a Member may never provide parliamentary
advice in return for payment, a Member may exceptionally give
parliamentary advice to an organisation or person with whom the
Member has a financial interest, provided that the Member can
· he or she does not receive payment or
benefit in return for the provision of parliamentary advice or
services. The Member should, if challenged, be able clearly to
show that the payment or benefit is provided in return for some
non-parliamentary advice or service which the Member provides;
the Member should, where possible, ensure that contractual agreements
specifically exclude the provision of parliamentary advice or
· the payment or benefit which the Member
does receive is not substantially due to membership of the House,
but is by reason of personal expertise or experience gained substantially
outside Parliament; and that the Member was, or would have been,
appointed to the position without being a Member of the House.
21. The prohibition from accepting payment in return
for parliamentary services means that Members may not,
in return for payment or other incentive or reward, assist outside
organisations or persons in influencing Parliament. This includes
seeking by means of participation in proceedings of the House
to confer exclusive benefit upon the organisation (the "no
paid advocacy rule"); or making use of their position to
arrange meetings with a view to any person lobbying Members of
either House, ministers or officials. A Member may never provide
parliamentary services in return for payment or other incentive
22. Members may work for or hold financial interests
in organisations such as representative bodies, trade associations
or organisations involved in parliamentary lobbying on behalf
of clients (such as public relations and law firms). However,
in accordance with paragraph 8(d) of the Code of Conduct, Members
themselves are prohibited from personally offering parliamentary
advice or services to clients, both directly and indirectly.
23. Paragraph 8(d) of the Code states that a Member
"must not seek to profit from membership of the House by
accepting or agreeing to accept payment or other incentive or
reward in return for providing parliamentary advice or services."
Paragraph 14 of the Code states that a Member "must not act
as a paid advocate in any proceeding of the House; that is to
say, he or she must not seek by parliamentary means to confer
exclusive benefit on an outside body or person from which he or
she receives payment or reward."
24. The "exclusive benefit" principle would
mean, for instance, that a Member who was paid by a pharmaceutical
company would be barred from seeking to confer benefit exclusively
upon that company by parliamentary means. The way in which the
benefit is conferred should be interpreted broadly. All proceedings
of the House are included, for instance:
· tabling a motion or an amendment to legislation;
· voting in a division;
· speaking in debate;
· asking written or oral questions; and
· deliberation within a Select Committee.
25. The nature of the "exclusive benefit",
on the other hand, should be interpreted narrowly. The same Member
would not be debarred from tabling an amendment, speaking or voting
on matters relevant to, for instance, the pharmaceutical sector
as a whole; National Health Service spending on drugs; or Government
policy on drug licensing and patents.
26. The term "outside body" includes any
registrable client of such a body (see below, paragraph 57).
27. A Member who has a financial interest in, or
receives a financial benefit from, a representative organisation,
such as a trade association, trade union, staff association, professional
body, charity or issue-related lobby group, may not advocate measures
for the exclusive benefit of that organisation or the trade, industry
or interest that it represents; nor speak or act in support of
a campaign exclusively for the benefit of the representative organisation
or its membership (e.g. a campaign for special tax relief, or
for a specific programme of development). But the Member may speak
or act in support of a campaign that is of interest to the representative
organisation, but is also of wider application (for instance,
in the case of a charity for cancer research, a campaign for the
prohibition of smoking).
28. A Member who seeks to confer benefit on an organisation
in which he or she has a financial interest, but who considers
that this does not constitute an "exclusive benefit",
should make it clear in debate how he or she is acting not only
in the interest of the organisation, but also the wider sector
or community of which that organisation forms a part.
29. Paragraphs 8(c) and 8(d) of the Code (the prohibitions
of payment for exercising parliamentary influence and of payment
for providing parliamentary advice and services) and paragraph
14 of the Code (the prohibition of paid advocacy for exclusive
benefit) do not apply to the Lords Spiritual, to Ministers of
the Crown, or to Members or employees of non-departmental public
bodies (whether commercial or non-commercial in character) in
relation to those specific roles. Members and employees of public
boards may take part in proceedings affecting the boards of which
they are Members or employees, subject to the usual rules on declaration
30. Paragraphs 8(c), 8(d) and 14 of the Code do not
apply to Members of the House acting as counsel on behalf of clients
before Private Bill Committees or the Committee for Privileges
and Conduct. Nor do they apply to Members appearing personally
or on behalf of outside organisations as witnesses before select
committees of either House.
Registration of interests
31. Under the Code, Members are required to register
in the Register of Lords' Interests all relevant interests. The
compilation and maintenance of the Register is undertaken by the
Registrar of Lords' Interests.
32. The purpose of the Register is to assist in openness
and accountability by enabling Members to make clear what are
the interests that might be thought by a reasonable Member of
the public to influence their actions, speeches or votes in Parliament,
or actions taken in their capacity as Members of the House of
Lords. The registration form specifies 10 categories of registrable
interest, which are described below.
33. Relevant interests may be financial or non-financial.
The key consideration in determining relevance in respect of both
registration and declaration of an interest is that the interest
might be thought by a reasonable member of the public to influence
the way in which a Member of the House of Lords discharges his
or her parliamentary duties. In the case of registration, this
means the Member's parliamentary duties in general; in the case
of declaration, his or her duties in respect of the particular
matter under discussion.
34. A "reasonable member of the public"
is taken to mean an impartial and well-informed person, who judges
all the relevant facts in an objective manner.
35. Members of the House of Lords are required to
complete a registration form and submit it to the Registrar of
Lords' Interests within one month of taking their seat. Thereafter
it is the responsibility of Members to keep their entry up-to-date
by notifying changes in their registrable interests within one
month of each change occurring. Failure to do so breaches the
Code of Conduct. Members are encouraged to correspond with the
Registrar by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
36. Any Member having a registrable interest which
has not at the time been registered shall not undertake any action,
speech or proceeding of the House (save voting) to which the interest
would be relevant until they have registered the interest. In
cases where Members vote in a division where they have a relevant
interest which they have yet to register, they must register the
interest within 24 hours of the division.
37. Members are responsible for making a full disclosure
of their interests, and if they have relevant financial interests
which do not fall clearly into one or other of the specific categories,
they are nonetheless expected to register them, if necessary under
category 9 (Miscellaneous financial interests).
38. Any reference in this Guide to a spouse includes
a Member's civil partner or cohabitee. Registration of a spouse's
interests is required in certain cases. However, registration
of the interests of a relative or friend is not required. Members
may, at their discretion, declare such interests where they consider
them to be relevant to the particular matter in hand, but they
are not generally relevant to a Member's parliamentary conduct
as a whole and are thus excluded from the Register.
The value of interests required to be registered
39. All single benefits of whatever kind which fall
into any of the following categories, and which exceed £500
in value, should be registered in the appropriate category (unless
a higher threshold is specified in the relevant category). All
benefits received from the same source in the course of a calendar
year, which cumulatively amount to more than £500 in value,
should also be registered. When there is uncertainty as to whether
a single benefit or cumulative benefits exceed the threshold,
Members should err on the side of registration.
40. Interests below £500 (or the relevant threshold,
if higher) in value are not required to be registered, unless
a) they fall into one of various categories of non-financial interests
for which registration is mandatory; or b) they could be thought
by a reasonable member of the public to affect the way in which
a Member of the House of Lords discharges his or her parliamentary
41. If a Member considers that any benefit he or
she has received, though falling below the value of £500
(or the relevant threshold, if higher), should be registered,
the Member should seek the advice of the Registrar. If, after
taking the advice of the Registrar, the Member still considers
that the interest should be registered, he or she may register
it in the appropriate category.
42. Financial interests below £500 in value
may also be declared.
Preparation and publication of the Register
43. The Register of Lords' Interests is printed and
published in book form soon after the beginning of a new Parliament,
and annually thereafter. As part of the preparation for the annual
reprinting of the Register as a book, the Registrar sends a circular
to all Members of the House inviting them to check and update
their Register entry. But Members themselves are responsible at
all times throughout the year for ensuring that their Register
entry is accurate and up-to-date.
44. Because the Register in book form goes quickly
out of date, the Register is updated daily when the House is sitting,
and is published online at www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld/ldreg.htm.
This up-to-date online edition of the Register is also available
in a loose leaf form for inspection by Members at the Table of
the House, in the Table Office, and in the Library; and by the
public in the Search Room of the Parliamentary Archives.
45. Previous editions of the Register in book form
are also available online.
Categories of registrable interest
Category 1: Directorships
Remunerated directorships in public and private
companies, including non-executive directorships, and including
directorships which are not directly remunerated, but where remuneration
is paid through another company in the same group.
46. In this category, and in others, "remuneration"
includes not only salaries and fees, but also the receipt of any
taxable expenses, allowances, or benefits, such as the provision
of a company car. Members should register the name of the company
in which the directorship is held and give a broad indication
of the company's business, where this is not self-evident from
its name. Directly remunerated directorships of companies which
are not trading should be registered.
47. In addition to any remunerated directorships,
Members are required to register under this category any directorships
which are themselves unremunerated but where either a) remuneration
is paid through another company in the same group where the companies
in question are associated; or b) the company concerned is a subsidiary
of another company in which the Member concerned holds remunerated
directorships. Other unremunerated directorships should be registered
under category 10 (Non-financial interests).
48. The amount of remuneration in respect of interests
falling within this category is not disclosed. The contract does
not need to be deposited with the Registrar.
Category 2: Remunerated employment etc.
Employment, office, trade, profession or vocation
which is remunerated or in which the Member has any pecuniary
49. All employment outside the House and any sources
of remuneration which do not fall clearly within any other category
should be registered here. When registering employment, Members
should state the employing organisation, the nature of its business
(where this is not self-evident) and the nature of the post that
they hold in the organisation.
50. Members who have paid posts as consultants or
advisers should indicate the nature of the consultancy or advice
given, for example "management consultant", "legal
adviser" or "public affairs consultant". They should,
in the case of public affairs consultancies, give careful consideration
to paragraph 8(d) of the Code and the accompanying guidance, and
should also list their clients under category 3.
51. Occasional income or benefits from speeches,
lecturing, broadcasting or journalism which exceeds £1,000
in the course of a calendar year from a single source should be
registered under this category and the source should be identified.
52. Membership of Lloyd's should be registered under
this category. Members who have resigned from Lloyd's should continue
to register their interest as long as syndicates in which they
have participated continue to have years of account which are
open or in run-off. Members of Lloyd's are also required to disclose
the categories of insurance business which they are underwriting.
53. Members who have previously practised a profession
may register that profession under this category with a bracketed
remark such as "[non-practising]" after the entry.
54. Members are not required to register pension
arrangements, unless conditions are attached to the continuing
receipt of the pension that a reasonable Member of the public
might regard as likely to influence their conduct as parliamentarians.
Such conditions attaching to pensions from European Union institutions
do not normally require the pension to be registered or declared
in proceedings in the House.
55. Membership of the House is not to be registered
under this category.
56. The amount of remuneration in respect of interests
falling within this category is not disclosed. The contract does
not need to be deposited with the Registrar.
Category 3: Public affairs advice and services
In respect of remunerated interests registered
in categories 1 or 2, any provision to clients of public affairs
advice and services.
57. The types of services covered here are those
falling under the broad heading of public affairs advice and services.
Where a Member receives remuneration from an organisation engaged
in such work, the Member should list any of those clients to whom
he or she personally provides public affairs advice or services
either directly or indirectly. Members with an interest in this
category should pay particular regard to paragraphs 15 to 22.
58. All such clients should be listed, along with
a broad indication of their business, where this is not self-evident.
59. A Member who has clients in a professional capacity
which does not relate to public affairs (for example, as an accountant,
doctor or lawyer) is not required to register those clients, provided
that the Member can demonstrate that the Member does not provide
public affairs advice and services to the clients.
Category 4: Shareholdings
Any shareholding either a) amounting to a controlling
interest, or b) not amounting to a controlling interest, but exceeding
£50,000 in value.
60. Members should include all such shareholdings
held, either personally, or with or on behalf of their spouse
or dependent children, in any public or private company. Members
should not specify the value of the shares, or the percentage
of shares in a company that are owned, other than by indicating
whether the shareholding falls under category 4(a) or 4(b).
61. For each registrable shareholding, the entry
should state the name of the company, and briefly indicate the
nature of the company's business, where this is not self-evident.
62. The value of a shareholding is determined by
the market price of the share on the preceding 5 April; but if
the market price cannot be ascertained (e.g. because the company
is unquoted and there is no market in the shares), the Member
should decide whether to register it on the basis of its estimated
value. Interests in shareholdings include share options.
63. Holdings in a collective investment vehicle (including
unit trusts, investment trusts and investment companies with variable
capital (ICVCs)) are not generally registrable. Members may, however,
consider registration in this category in appropriate cases, such
as sector-specific vehicles. Members who are beneficiaries of
trusts should treat them in the same way. Holdings in blind trusts
are exempt from registration.
64. Pensions are not in themselves registrable (see
above, paragraph 54), but identifiable holdings in a self-invested
personal fund, are registrable in either this category or category
5 as appropriate if of registrable value.
65. Shareholdings in companies the purpose of which
is to own the freehold of a personal residence of a Member or
of a property registered in another category are not registrable.
Category 5: Land and property
Any land or property a) which has a capital value
of more than £250,000 (but excluding any personal residences
of Members and their spouses), or b) from which an income of more
than £5,000 a year is derived.
66. Only the nature of the property and a general
indication of its location should be indicated (e.g. "farm
in Norfolk", "residential holdings in Birmingham",
and so on); the value of the property and the income received
need not be registered. No property that is used for personal
residential purposes need be registered, unless it falls under
Category 6: Sponsorship
Any form of financial or material support received
as a Member of the House of Lords, the value of which amounts
to more than £500, from a single source, whether as a single
donation, multiple donations, or services in kind.
67. This category covers sponsorship or other forms
of support by companies, trade unions, professional bodies, trade
associations, charities, universities, other organisations and
individuals. It covers any support from which the Member receives
financial or material benefit in his or her role as a Member of
the House of Lords. The types of support which should be registered
include the services of a research assistant or secretary whose
salary, in whole or in part, is met by an outside organisation
or individual; and the provision of accommodation.
Category 7: Overseas visits
Overseas visits made by the Member or the Member's
spouse substantially arising out of membership of the House, except
where the cost of the visit was wholly borne by the Member or
by United Kingdom public funds.
68. Members should enter in the Register the date,
destination and purpose of the visit and the name of the government,
organisation, or individual which met the cost. Where only part
of the cost was borne by an outside source (for example the cost
of accommodation but not the cost of travel), those details should
be stated briefly. When an overseas visit was arranged by a registered
All-Party or parliamentary group or by a party backbench group,
it is not sufficient to name the group as the sponsor of the visit:
the government, organisation, or person ultimately meeting the
cost should be specified.
69. The following categories of visit, together with
any hospitality associated with such a visit and available to
all participants, are exempt from registration:
· Visits which are paid for by, or which
are undertaken on behalf of, Her Majesty's Government, or which
are made on behalf of an international organisation of which the
United Kingdom Government is a Member;
· Visits abroad with, or on behalf of, a
Select Committee of the House including a Joint Committee;
· Visits undertaken on behalf of, or under
the auspices of, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, the
Inter-Parliamentary Union, the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly,
the British American Parliamentary Group, the Council of Europe,
the Western European Union, the Westminster Foundation for Democracy,
the NATO Parliamentary Assembly or the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly;
· Peers' Representative Travel, paid for
by the House of Lords Overseas Office;
· Official travel by the Lord Speaker or
· Visits to European Union parliaments and
institutions paid for by the House on the authority of the Clerk
of the Parliaments;
· Visits arranged and paid for wholly by
a political party;
· Visits paid for wholly by an institution
of the European Union or by a political group of the European
70. Visits which are unconnected with membership
of the House (e.g. those made as part of the Member's employment
or profession), or the cost of which does not exceed £500
in value, are also exempt from registration.
71. An entry made in this category will remain on
the Register for a period of one year from the date on which the
visit was made.
Category 8: Gifts, benefits and hospitality
Any gift to the Member or the Member's spouse
or partner, or any other material benefit, of a value greater
than £500, from any company, organisation or person, within
the UK or overseas, which relates substantially to membership
of the House.
72. Any gift, or other benefit, which relates substantially
to membership of the House and which is either given free of charge,
or provided at a cost below that generally available to Members
of the public, should be registered whenever the value or potential
value of the gift or benefit is greater than £500, unless
the Member gives the gift to charity within the period required
for registration. Benefits include loans, tickets to cultural
and sporting events, hospitality, travel and accommodation upgrades.
The date of receipt should also be registered. A gift or benefit
available to all Members is nonetheless registrable.
73. Gifts and other benefits from the same source
in the course of a calendar year the gift of which depended substantially
on membership of the House and which cumulatively are of a value
greater than £500 should be registered, even if each single
gift or benefit is of lesser value.
74. Hospitality provided by Her Majesty's Government,
any of the devolved institutions in Scotland, Wales or Northern
Ireland, the Greater London Authority, local authorities, non-departmental
public bodies or health authorities, is exempt from registration.
75. Gifts and material benefits that do not relate
substantially to membership of the House are exempt from registration.
76. Gifts and material benefits should be registered
within one month of receipt; the entry will remain on the Register
for a period of one year from the date of receipt.
77. Gifts received by the Lord Speaker in connection
with the performance of her public duties are registered separately,
irrespective of value, in a register maintained by her Private
Category 9: Miscellaneous financial interests
Any relevant financial interest not falling within
one of the above categories, but which might be thought by a reasonable
Member of the public to influence a Member's parliamentary conduct.
78. The purpose of this category is to enable Members
to enter in the Register any financial interests of a value greater
than £500 that they consider to be relevant, but which do
not obviously fall within any of the other categories. The advice
of the Registrar should be sought before entering any interest
in this category.
Category 10: Non-financial interests
79. Certain non-financial interests may reasonably
be thought to affect the way Members of the House of Lords discharges
their public duties, and must therefore be registered in this
category. The following non-financial interests are always relevant
and therefore must be registered:
a. Unremunerated directorships or other regular
b. Membership of public bodies such as hospital
trusts, the governing bodies of universities, colleges or schools,
local authorities and other spheres of government;
c. Trusteeships of museums, galleries or similar
d. Acting as an office-holder or trustee in pressure
groups or trade unions; and
e. Acting as an office-holder or trustee in voluntary
or not-for-profit organisations.
80. Other non-financial interests are not normally
registered, though it may be necessary in certain circumstances
to declare them. Such interests include: other trusteeships, for
example of private estates; unpaid ordinary membership of voluntary
organisations or pressure groups; membership of Churches or other
religious bodies or organisations. The Registrar is available
to advise Members in cases of uncertainty.
81. The following posts should not be registered:
honorary fellowships in colleges and universities; offices in
political parties; patrons; ex officio positions in voluntary
organisations (for instance, those held by the Lords Spiritual).
There may however be occasions on which such interests should
Declaration of interests
82. The Code of Conduct states that Members must
"declare when speaking in the House, or communicating with
ministers or public servants, any interest which is a relevant
interest in the context of the debate or the matter under discussion."
83. This provision should be interpreted broadly.
Thus "speaking in the House" covers Members' participation
in the work of Select Committees of the House. "Public servants"
includes servants of the Crown, civil servants, employees of government
agencies or non-departmental public bodies, and Members, officers
and employees of local authorities or other governmental bodies.
84. However, the provision should also be read in
the context of paragraph 3(a) of the Code, which states that "the
Code does not extend to Members' performance of duties unrelated
to parliamentary proceedings, or to their private lives".
Where a Member writes to a Minister or other public servant in
a private capacity, about matters unrelated to public policy or
to parliamentary proceedings, no declaration is required.
Differences between registration and declaration
85. The House has two distinct but related methods
for the disclosure of the relevant interests of its Members: registration
of interests in a Register which is open for public inspection;
and declaration of interest in the course of debate in the House
and in other contexts (for instance, when communicating with ministers).
The main purpose of the Register is to give public notification
on a continuing basis of those interests held by Members that
might reasonably be thought to have a general influence upon their
parliamentary conduct or actions. The main purpose of declaration
of interest is to ensure that fellow Members of the House, ministers,
officials and the public are made aware, at the point at which
the Member participates in proceedings of the House or otherwise
acts in a parliamentary capacity, of any present or expected future
interest that might reasonably be thought relevant to that particular
action by the Member.
86. Thus declaration, like registration, is compulsory.
Moreover, given the wide range of issues that may be the subject
of debate, the duties imposed upon Members in respect of declaration
are in some respects broader than those in respect of registration.
However, whereas Members are required by the Code of Conduct to
publish all interests that might be thought to have a general
influence upon their conduct in the Register, Members are under
no obligation to speak in the House, or to communicate with Ministers
or public servants. Thus the duty to declare relevant interests,
while it is broader than the duty of registration, is ultimately
subject to the Member's decision to speak in a debate or write
to a Minister or public servant.
Form of declaration
87. Members should declare interests briefly, usually
at the beginning of their speech. Declarations should wherever
possible be comprehensible, specific, and unambiguous, without
either demanding prior knowledge of their audience or requiring
reference to other documents. Members should not normally make
a declaration simply by referring to "my interests which
are published in the Register".
88. An exception to the rule in the preceding paragraph
may be made at Oral Questions or other time-limited proceedings,
where it may be for the convenience of the House that Members
should not take up time by making lengthy or repeated declarations
of interest. On such occasions a brief reference to the published
Register may be appropriate, but this only suffices for registered
89. Members should not take up the time of the House,
particularly during time-limited proceedings, by declaring trivial,
frivolous or irrelevant interests. They should bear in mind that
the test of relevance is "whether the interest might be thought
by a reasonable Member of the public to influence the way in which
a Member of the House of Lords discharges his or her parliamentary
duties" (Code, paragraph 11). The test for whether to declare
is that set by the Code of Conduct and this Guide and not what
other Members declare in debate.
90. The subject-matter against which the relevance
of an interest must be judged is normally the item of business
as it appears on the Order Paper. Thus in the case of a bill,
the subject-matter is the bill as a whole. A full declaration
of any interests relevant to a bill should be made at least on
the occasion of the Member's first intervention at each stage
of the bill's progress. Repetition of declarations of interest
within Committee and Report stage is unnecessary. There may however
be circumstances in which a further declaration is appropriate,
for example if an interest which is tangential to the bill as
a whole nevertheless has a strong relevance to a particular amendment.
Potential or future interests
91. For the purposes of declaration of interests,
relevant interests include future interests, that is to say interests
where a Member's expectation has passed beyond vague hope or aspiration
and reached the stage where there is a clear prospect that the
interest will shortly arise.
92. A Member serving on a Select Committee should
declare any interests relevant to an inquiry or any other activity
undertaken by that Committee. The declaration should be made in
writing to the committee clerk, and orally the first time the
Member speaks in public in the inquiry. A list of declared relevant
interests is also published as an appendix to the Committee's
93. The principles governing participation, described
in paragraphs 11-14 above, apply also to participation in the
work of Select Committees. Members should consider carefully whether
to take part in an inquiry if they have a direct, relevant, financial
interest which goes to the heart of the subject of the inquiry.
94. Further advice on Select Committee work should
be sought from the Committee Clerk in the first instance.
95. Members are required to draw attention to the
existence of a relevant registered interest when tabling the following
types of business:
· Questions (for oral answer, written answer
or for short debate);
· Motions (including amendments to motions).
96. The responsibility for drawing attention to any
relevant registered interest rests with the Member concerned:
· The Member must notify the staff of the
Table Office of any relevant registered interest before tabling
any item of business;
· If the Member has such an interest, he
or she must also specify which registered interest is affected.
97. When such an interest exists, the symbol "[I]"
is printed after the Member's name in House of Lords Business.
The Table Office then arranges for the publication of the interest
by means of the online version of House of Lords Business.
98. If a Member has a registrable interest which
is yet to be registered, and wishes to table business to which
that interest is relevant, the Member should register the interest
before tabling the business,
so that it appears in the online Register of Lords' Interests
in advance of publication of House of Lords Business.
99. An indication in House of Lords Business
and on the Order Paper of the existence of a relevant registered
interest does not affect a Member's duty to declare relevant interests
orally, for instance when asking an oral question or moving a
motion in the House or in Grand Committee.
100. Members of the House may claim a daily fee for
attendance and a number of reimbursement expenses to support them
in their parliamentary work. The House Committee is responsible
for proposing rules on the financial support available to Members,
which are reported to and agreed by the House. The available support
and the rules relating to the scheme are set out in the General
guide to the Members' reimbursement scheme.
Paragraph 10(c) of the Code of Conduct states that Members shall
"act in accordance with any rules agreed by the House in
respect of financial support for Members". A breach of such
rules therefore constitutes a breach of the Code of Conduct and
could lead to an investigation by the House of Lords Commissioner
for Standards. The Finance Director is responsible for the administration
of the scheme. Any Member may seek the written advice of the Finance
Director before determining what use to make of the scheme. The
responsibility for deciding what use to make of the scheme rests
with the Member concerned.
Use of facilities and services
101. The House provides various facilities and services
for Members, most of which are paid for in full or subsidised
by the public purse. These facilities and services are provided
primarily to support Members in their parliamentary work. The
domestic committees are responsible for proposing rules on the
use of facilities by Members, and the key ones are reported to
and agreed by the House. Paragraph 10(c) of the Code of Conduct
states that Members shall "act in accordance with any rules
agreed by the House in respect of
the facilities of the
House". A breach of such rules therefore constitutes a breach
of the Code of Conduct and could lead to an investigation by the
House of Lords Commissioner for Standards. The rules on the use
of facilities which have been agreed by the House are set out
in two House Committee reports
which are appended to the Handbook on facilities and services
for Members. These reports also identify which official is
responsible for the provision of each facility or service; a Member
who acts on the advice of that official in determining what use
to make of a facility satisfies fully the requirements of the
Code of Conduct in that regard.
102. The House of Lords is self-regulating and it
is desirable for any Member who considers that another Member
may be in breach of the Code promptly to draw it to the attention
of the Member concerned.
The House of Lords Commissioner for Standards
103. The House of Lords Commissioner for Standards
may investigate alleged breaches of the Code, the rules governing
Members' financial support and the rules governing the use of
parliamentary facilities and services. A complaint made by a third
party is the usual basis for the Commissioner to start an investigation.
In exceptional circumstances however, and with the agreement of
the Sub-Committee on Lords' Conduct, he may start an investigation
in the absence of a complaint, either at the request of the Member
concerned, or if by other means he becomes aware of evidence sufficient
to establish a prima facie case that the Code of Conduct
has been breached.
Making a complaint
104. If the complainant is a Member of the House
of Lords, the complaint should be raised in the first instance
with the Member complained against, or otherwise with that Member's
party Leader or Chief Whip, or with the Convenor of the Crossbench
Peers. Non-Members wishing to make a complaint should normally
first make their dissatisfaction known to the Member concerned
and give the Member an opportunity to respond.
105. Any complaint alleging that a Member of the
House of Lords has breached the Code of Conduct, whether made
by another Member of the House of Lords or by someone outside
the House, should be sent in writing to:
The House of Lords Commissioner for Standards
House of Lords
London SW1A 0PW
106. Complaints submitted by telephone or email will
not be considered; the complainant should give a postal address,
telephone number and, if available, email address for subsequent
communication. The complainant must make clear in what respect
the Member may have breached the Code of Conduct and must supply
as much evidence as the complainant can in support of the complaint.
107. In the interests of natural justice, the specific
allegation should be made to the Commissioner in private and not
publicised until the complaint has been finally determined.
108. The Commissioner conducts a preliminary assessment
of all complaints. The Commissioner will not without good reason
consider either anonymous complaints or ones where the complainant
is not prepared to have his name and complaint disclosed to the
Member whose conduct is criticised. He screens out complaints
which fall outside the scope of the Code. He may choose not to
consider complaints which are clearly trivial or vexatious, or
which substantially repeat allegations which have already been
the subject of inquiry (unless there is significant fresh evidence
in their support). In making his preliminary assessment, the Commissioner
considers the criteria set out in the following two paragraphs.
109. Matters falling within the Commissioner's remit
- · failure to register relevant interests;
- · failure to declare relevant interests
in the course of parliamentary business including committee proceedings;
- · breach of the rules on financial inducements
and parliamentary influence and on paid advocacy;
- · breach of the rules on the use of
facilities and services and on financial support; and
- · failure by Members' staff to declare
relevant interests in the Register of Lords' Staff Interests.
110. Matters not falling within the Commissioner's
- · policy matters or a Member's views
- · the funding of political parties;
- · alleged breaches of the separate code
governing the conduct of Government Ministers as Ministers; and
- · Members' non-parliamentary activities.
111. The complaint must be made within four years
of the conduct complained of. The complaint must also be supported
by evidence sufficient to establish a prima facie case
that the Code has been breached.
112. The police and other agencies investigate allegations
of criminal misconduct and the Commissioner will not investigate
any related allegation of a breach of the Code while the agency
is conducting its own investigation. The same suspension of investigation
applies while related proceedings (for instance, an action for
defamation) are before a court of law.
113. Following his preliminary assessment, the Commissioner
informs both the complainant and the Member concerned whether
or not he will investigate the complaint. If he has decided that
the complaint does not merit investigation, he provides the complainant
with a brief explanation of his reasons for dismissing the complaint.
The investigation: procedural safeguards
114. The Code of Conduct states that "In investigating
and adjudicating allegations of non-compliance with this Code,
the Commissioner, the Sub-Committee on Lords' Conduct and the
Committee for Privileges and Conduct shall act in accordance with
the principles of natural justice and fairness".
115. Proceedings are not adversarial, but inquisitorial
in character. The Commissioner is an independent and impartial
investigator, appointed by the House, whose task is to establish
the facts of a case and report these, along with his conclusions
as to whether or not there has been a breach of the Code, to the
Sub-Committee on Lords' Conduct.
116. The Member has a right of appeal from the Commissioner
and Sub-Committee, first to the Committee for Privileges and Conduct
and then to the House. The complainant has no right of appeal.
117. Members are expected to co-operate with any
investigation into their conduct. They should supply written evidence
as requested, and in their own name. Letters sent on their behalf
by legal advisers or others will be disregarded. They may be accompanied
to any meeting by a colleague, friend or legal adviser, but every
effort is made to keep proceedings informal, and there is no expectation
that they should be so accompanied. If they choose to bring a
colleague, friend or adviser, they are free to consult him or
her off the record, but will be expected to answer for themselves
(and not through the friend or adviser) any question put to them.
118. The complainant has no formal locus once
an investigation is under way: he has no right to be called as
a witness, though he is expected to co-operate with any investigation
and to supply all the evidence in his possession when asked to
do so. Nor do Members accused of misconduct have any entitlement
to cross-examine complainants, though they are given an opportunity
to review and, if they so wish, challenge the factual basis of
any evidence supplied by complainants or others.
119. The civil standard of proof is adopted at all
stages in the enforcement process, not only by the Commissioner,
but by the Sub-Committee on Lords' Conduct and the Committee for
Privileges and Conduct. Thus, in order to find against a Member,
the Commissioner will require at least that the allegation is
proved on the balance of probabilities.
120. The Commissioner is an officer of the House
of Lords and parliamentary privilege extends to him in carrying
out his duties. It also extends to witnesses and parties to his
investigations. A complaint is however not regarded as covered
by parliamentary privilege unless and until the Commissioner has
decided to undertake an investigation.
121. From the point that the Commissioner decides
to undertake an investigation all evidence and correspondence
relating directly to the inquiry is covered by parliamentary privilege.
It must remain confidential unless and until it is published by
the Committee for Privileges and Conduct. If such evidence or
correspondence were to be published or disclosed to anyone else
without the Committee's agreement, this would be a contempt of
the House. An attempt to obstruct an investigation is a contempt
of the House.
The investigation: process
122. The Commissioner first informs the Member concerned
of the nature of the complaint and provides copies of the evidence
offered in support of it. He sets out the particular provisions
of the Code that appear, either on the basis of the complaint,
or his preliminary assessment of the facts, to have been breached,
at the same time inviting the Member to respond in writing with
a full and accurate account of the matters in question.
123. After considering the Member's written submission,
the Commissioner may decide either to dismiss the complaint, or
to agree remedial action with the Member. Remedial action may
be agreed if the complaint, though justified, is minor and is
acknowledged by the Member concerned. Remedial action involves
"putting the record straight", for instance by making
an amendment to the Register; the Member will also normally be
expected to make a formal apology, either in writing or by means
of a personal statement in the House. If the Commissioner and
Member agree remedial action, the Commissioner reports the circumstances
and remedial action to the Sub-Committee on Lords' Conduct. The
Commissioner informs the complainant of the action taken in response
to the complaint.
124. If the Member's written response is not sufficient
to enable the Commissioner either to dismiss the complaint or
agree remedial action, the Commissioner may pursue the investigation
by seeking further information, either from the Member concerned
or others, including the original complainant, third parties,
or public or private bodies. Such information is usually requested
in writing in the first instance, though in some circumstances
the Commissioner may decide to interview witnesses, either informally
or by means of formal oral evidence. The Commissioner holds his
meetings with witnesses in private. In the case of informal interviews,
a note is made of the meeting and all parties are subsequently
asked to confirm its accuracy. In the case of formal oral evidence,
a full transcript is taken. The Committee for Privileges and Conduct
decides to what extent evidence is published.
125. The Committee for Privileges and Conduct and
its Sub-Committee on Lords' Conduct have the power to send for
persons, papers and records and may exercise this power as necessary
in support of any investigation by the Commissioner.
Assessing the evidence
126. If the Commissioner's investigation has uncovered
material evidence that is at variance with the Member's version
of events, he will put this to the Member, who will have a chance
to challenge it. Before finalising his report, the Commissioner
will also share with the Member a draft of those parts of his
report dealing with issues of fact, so that the Member has an
opportunity to comment on it.
127. If, having considered the Member's comments,
the Commissioner considers that there remain significant contested
issues of fact, he will prepare his own account of the facts of
the case, while drawing the attention of the Sub-Committee to
those points which are contested.
128. The Commissioner reports his findings to the
Sub-Committee, usually in the following form:
· summary of the initial complaint, and
of the relevant elements of the Code of Conduct;
· brief account of the key facts in the
case, with references to evidence as appropriate, and with any
contested points of fact highlighted;
· his findings with reasons as to whether
or not the Code has been breached; and
· any evidence, written and oral.
Consideration by the Sub-Committee on Lords' Conduct
129. The Sub-Committee considers the Commissioner's
report and must report it without amendment to the Committee for
Privileges. The Sub-Committee, in its report, may comment on the
Commissioner's report and on the case. If the Commissioner dismisses
the complaint, the Sub-Committee reports his findings to the Committee
for Privileges. If the Commissioner finds that there has been
a breach of the Code, the task of the Sub-Committee is to recommend
any appropriate action that the Member should take to regularise
the position (including repayment of money) and any sanction that
the House should apply.
130. In the case of a breach of the Code, the options
available to the Sub-Committee in its report to the Committee
for Privileges and Conduct include:
- · That the Code has been breached but
that no action or sanction is appropriate. Where the Member concerned
has volunteered appropriate remedial action (such as corrected
disclosure or a personal apology to the House), the Sub-Committee
may report to the Committee for Privileges and Conduct that it
sees no need for the matter to be reported to the House because
the remedial action itself involves public acknowledgement of
- · That the Code has been breached; that
the Member's conduct should be drawn to the attention of the House
in a report from the Committee for Privileges and Conduct; and,
where appropriate, that the Committee for Privileges and Conduct
should recommend to the House that the Member be required to take
action to regularise the position.
- · That the Code has been breached and
that the Committee for Privileges and Conduct should recommend
to the House that the Member be suspended from the House for a
specified period of time not longer than the remainder of the
Report to the Committee for Privileges and Conduct
131. The Sub-Committee makes its report and that
of the Commissioner to the Committee for Privileges and Conduct.
At the same time as the report is made to the Committee for Privileges
and Conduct, a copy is sent to the Member concerned, who is informed
of the deadline by which he may lodge an appeal to the Committee
for Privileges and Conduct if the complaint has been upheld.
132. If the Member does not appeal to the Committee
for Privileges and Conduct in the event of a complaint being upheld,
the Committee reports forthwith to the House in the terms recommended
by the Sub-Committee and may agree to do so by correspondence.
If the Member wishes to appeal, the Member must do so in writing,
setting out the grounds for the appeal, and enclosing such supporting
material as the Member thinks appropriate. The appeal may be against
either the Commissioner's finding of a breach of the Code, or
the recommended sanction. A meeting will be scheduled to hear
the appeal, and the Member will be given an opportunity to appear
in person, if he or she so wishes. The Committee may also take
evidence from the Commissioner.
133. On appeal, the Committee will not reopen the
Commissioner's investigation. Rather members of the Committee
will use their judgment to decide whether, on the balance of probabilities,
they endorse the conclusions of the Commissioner; they will also
consider whether or not the recommended sanction is appropriate.
Report to the House
134. Where a complaint is not upheld, the Committee
for Privileges and Conduct has discretion as to whether to report
to the House. When the Committee does not report to the House,
it informs the complainant and Member of the outcome of the complaint.
135. Where a complaint is upheld, the Committee for
Privileges and Conduct normally reports to the House (though it
may decide not to make a report to the House in minor cases, where
the Member concerned has volunteered appropriate remedial action).
The Committee must seek the agreement of the House in any case
where it is proposed that a Member be required to take action
to regularise the position or that the Member be sanctioned by
136. In all cases where there has been an appeal
to the Committee for Privileges and Conduct, the Committee will
publish a report either upholding or dismissing the appeal. The
reports from the Commissioner and Sub-Committee are annexed to
the Committee's report.
137. When the Committee reports to the House, the
Committee Clerk should show the Member the report shortly before
publication and send the complainant the report on publication.
3 Committee for Privileges, 2nd Report, session 2008-09
(HL Paper 88) Back
A Member with an interest in the outcome of a private bill may
not serve on the Committee on the bill (Private Business Standing
Order No 96). Back
This figure will be uprated once each Parliament, in line with
retail price inflation. Back
See paragraph 36 above. Back
This reference will be updated to take account of the implementation
of the report from the Review Body on Senior Salaries (Cm 7746),
the principle of which the House adopted by resolution on 14 December
House Committee, Refreshment Department Functions (3rd
Report, session 2008-09, HL Paper 144) and Rules Governing
the Use of Facilities (2nd Report, session 2009-10, HL paper
See The powers of the House of Lords in respect of its Members,
Committee for Privileges, First Report (2008-09), HL Paper 87;
agreed to by the House on 20 May 2009 Back