The Conduct of Lord Blencathra - Privileges Committee Contents


1. The Commissioner for Standards has submitted the attached report dismissing a complaint made against Lord Blencathra.

2. The complainant alleged that Lord Blencathra provided parliamentary services to the Government of the Cayman Islands Office in the United Kingdom. The complainant specified five instances where it is alleged that occurred, and provided a transcript of a press conference given by Lord Blencathra in which he spoke about his role.

3. The Commissioner found Lord Blencathra not to have breached the Code of Conduct as the instances complained of did not amount to the provision of parliamentary advice or services.

4. The Commissioner's findings bring to light an aspect of the Guide to the Code of Conduct which may need clarifying. Paragraph 21 bans "influencing Parliament" in return for payment or other incentive or reward. It goes on to provide examples of what is prohibited, including "making use of [a member's] position to arrange meetings with a view to any person lobbying Members of either House, ministers or officials." It does not say in terms whether or not members may themselves lobby ministers or officials in return for payment or other incentive or reward.

5. Accordingly, the sub-committee intends to consider this issue at a forthcoming meeting so that it may advise the Committee for Privileges and Conduct whether the Guide to the Code of Conduct should be amended to provide clarity and, if so, on what terms.

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