Select Committee on Standards and Privileges First Report



ANNEX H

Extracts from letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards from Mr Robert Henderson

BETTING ON THE ELECTION OF A SPEAKER

8.   I enclose copies of stories from the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail dated 26/10/2000. These contain details of betting by Labour Members on the outcome of the election of The Speaker. One named member, Frank Roy, has admitted doing so, but there appears to be a much wider involvement by Labour MPs. It is noteworthy that there is no suggestion of MPs from other parties being involved.

9.  Such behaviour breaches the Code of Conduct comprehensively. These are the clauses breached:

ii) Public Duty

Members have a duty to uphold the law and to act on all occasions in accordance with the public trust placed in them.

iii) Personal Conduct

Members shall observe the general principle of conduct identified by the Committee on Standards in public life as applying to the holders of public office:—

Holders of public office should take decisions solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends.

Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might influence them in the performance of their official duties.

Objectivity

In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.

Openness

Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.

Honesty

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.

Leadership

Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.

Members shall base their conduct on a consideration of the public interest, avoid conflict between personal interest and the public interest and resolve any conflict between the two, at once, and in favour of the public interest.

Members shall at all times conduct themselves in a manner which will tend to maintain and strengthen the public's trust and confidence in the integrity of Parliament and never undertake any action which would bring the House of Commons, or its Members generally, into disrepute.

Members shall fulfil conscientiously the requirements of the House in respect of the registration of interests in the Register of Member's Interests and shall always draw attention to any relevant interest in any proceeding of the House or its Committees, or in any communications with Ministers, Government Departments or Executive Agencies.

In any activities with, or on behalf of, an organisation with which a member has a financial relationship, including activities which may not be a matter of public record such as informal meetings and functions, he or she must always bear in mind the need to be open and frank with Ministers, Members and officials.

Members must bear in mind that information which they receive in confidence in the course of their parliamentary duties should be used only in connections with those duties, and that such information must never be used for the purpose of financial gain.

10.  I ask you to investigate all Members who placed a winning bet on the outcome of the elections for Speaker (1) for these breaches of the Code of Conduct and (2) ensure that all winnings are recorded in the Member's Register of Interests.

26 October 2000


 
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Prepared 14 December 2000