Standing Orders of the House of Commons - Public Business 2001 - continued        House of Commons

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Committee on Standards and Privileges.     149. - (1) There shall be a select committee, called the Committee on Standards and Privileges-
 
 
    (a) to consider specific matters relating to privileges referred to it by the House;
 
    (b) to oversee the work of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards; to examine the arrangements proposed by the Commissioner for the compilation, maintenance and accessibility of the Register of Members' Interests and any other registers of interest established by the House; to review from time to time the form and content of those registers; and to consider any specific complaints made in relation to the registering or declaring of interests referred to it by the Commissioner; and
 
    (c) to consider any matter relating to the conduct of Members, including specific complaints in relation to alleged breaches in any code of conduct to which the House has agreed and which have been drawn to the committee's attention by the Commissioner; and to recommend any modifications to such code of conduct as may from time to time appear to be necessary.
      (2) The committee shall consist of eleven Members, of whom five shall be a quorum.
 
      (3) Unless the House otherwise orders, each Member nominated to the committee shall continue to be a member of it for the remainder of the Parliament.
 
      (4) The committee shall have power to appoint sub-committees consisting of no more than seven Members, of whom three shall be a quorum, and to refer to such sub-committees any of the matters referred to the committee; and shall appoint one such sub-committee to receive reports from the Commissioner relating to investigations into specific complaints.
 
      (5) The committee and any sub-committee shall have power to send for persons, papers and records, to sit notwithstanding any adjournment of the House, to adjourn from place to place, to report from time to time and to appoint specialist advisers either to supply information which is not readily available or to elucidate matters of complexity within the committee's order of reference.
 
      (6) The committee shall have power to order the attendance of any Member before the committee or any sub-committee and to require that specific documents or records in the possession of a Member relating to its inquiries, or to the inquiries of a sub-committee or of the Commissioner, be laid before the committee or any sub-committee.
 
      (7) The committee, or any sub-committee, shall have power to refer to unreported evidence of former Committees of Privileges or of former Select Committees on Members' Interests and to any documents circulated to any such committee.
 
      (8) The committee shall have power to refuse to allow proceedings to which strangers are admitted to be broadcast.
 
      (9) Mr Attorney General, the Advocate General and Mr Solicitor General, being Members of the House, may attend the committee or any sub-committee, may take part in deliberations, may receive committee or sub-committee papers and may give such other assistance to the committee or sub-committee as may be appropriate, but shall not vote or make any motion or move any amendment or be counted in the quorum.
 
Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.     150. - (1) There shall be an officer of this House, called the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, who shall be appointed by the House.
 
      (2) The principal duties of the Commissioner shall be-
 
 
    (a) to maintain the Register of Members' Interests and any other registers of interest established by the House, and to make such arrangements for the compilation, maintenance and accessibility of those registers as are approved by the Committee on Standards and Privileges or an appropriate sub-committee thereof;
 
    (b) to provide advice confidentially to Members and other persons or bodies subject to registration on matters relating to the registration of individual interests;
 
    (c) to advise the Committee on Standards and Privileges, its sub-committees and individual Members on the interpretation of any code of conduct to which the House has agreed and on questions of propriety;
 
    (d) to monitor the operation of such code and registers, and to make recommendations thereon to the Committee on Standards and Privileges or an appropriate sub-committee thereof; and
 
    (e) to receive and, if he thinks fit, investigate specific complaints from Members and from members of the public in respect of-
 
      (i) the registration or declaration of interests, or
 
      (ii) other aspects of the propriety of a Member's conduct,
  and to report to the Committee on Standards and Privileges or to an appropriate sub-committee thereof.
      (3) The Commissioner may be dismissed by resolution of the House.
 
Statutory Instruments (Joint Committee).     151. - (1) A select committee shall be appointed to join with a committee appointed by the Lords to consider-
 
 
    (A) every instrument which is laid before each House of Parliament and upon which proceedings may be or might have been taken in either House of Parliament, in pursuance of an Act of Parliament, being-
 
    (a) a statutory instrument, or a draft statutory instrument;
 
    (b) a scheme, or an amendment of a scheme, or a draft thereof, requiring approval by statutory instrument;
 
    (c) any other instrument (whether or not in draft), where the proceedings in pursuance of an Act of Parliament are proceedings by way of an affirmative resolution; or
 
    (d) an order subject to special parliamentary procedure;
  but excluding any Order in Council or draft Order in Council made or proposed to be made under paragraph 1 of Schedule 1 to the Northern Ireland Act 1974 and any draft order proposed to be made under section 1 of the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994;
 
    (B) every general statutory instrument not within the foregoing classes, and not within paragraph (10) of this order, but not including any statutory instrument made by a member of the Scottish Executive or by the National Assembly for Wales unless it is required to be laid before Parliament or either House of Parliament and not including measures under the Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act 1919 and instruments made under such measures: with a view to determining whether the special attention of the House should be drawn to it on any of the following grounds:
 
      (i) that it imposes a charge on the public revenues or contains provisions requiring payments to be made to the Exchequer or any government department or to any local or public authority in consideration of any licence or consent or of any services to be rendered, or prescribes the amount of any such charge or payment;
 
      (ii) that it is made in pursuance of any enactment containing specific provisions excluding it from challenge in the courts, either at all times or after the expiration of a specific period;
 
      (iii) that it purports to have retrospective effect where the parent statute confers no express authority so to provide;
 
      (iv) that there appears to have been unjustifiable delay in the publication or in the laying of it before Parliament;
 
      (v) that there appears to have been unjustifiable delay in sending a notification under the proviso to section 4(1) of the Statutory Instruments Act 1946, where an instrument has come into operation before it has been laid before Parliament;
 
      (vi) that there appears to be a doubt whether it is intra vires or that it appears to make some unusual or unexpected use of the powers conferred by the statute under which it is made;
 
      (vii) that for any special reason its form or purport calls for elucidation;
 
      (viii) that its drafting appears to be defective;
  or on any other ground which does not impinge on its merits or on the policy behind it; and to report its decision with the reasons thereof in any particular case.
      (2) The quorum of the committee shall be two.
 
      (3) The committee shall have power to appoint one or more sub-committees severally to join with any sub-committee or sub-committees appointed by the committee appointed by the Lords; and to refer to such sub-committee or sub-committees any of the matters referred to the committee.
 
      (4) The committee and any sub-committee appointed by it shall have the assistance of the Counsel to the Speaker and, if their Lordships think fit, of the Counsel to the Lord Chairman of Committees.
 
      (5) The committee shall have power to sit notwithstanding any adjournment of the House and to report from time to time, and any sub-committee appointed by it shall have power to sit notwithstanding any adjournment of the House.
 
      (6) The committee and any sub-committee appointed by it shall have power to require any government department concerned to submit a memorandum explaining any instrument which may be under its consideration or to depute a representative to appear before it as a witness for the purpose of explaining any such instrument.
 
      (7) The committee and any sub-committee appointed by it shall have power to take evidence, written or oral, from Her Majesty's Stationery Office, relating to the printing and publication of any instrument.
 
      (8) The committee shall have power to report to the House from time to time any memorandum submitted to it or other evidence taken before it or any sub-committee appointed by it from any government department in explanation of any instruments.
 
      (9) It shall be an instruction to the committee that before reporting that the special attention of the House be drawn to any instrument the committee do afford to any government department concerned therewith an opportunity of furnishing orally or in writing to it or to any sub-committee appointed by it such explanations as the department think fit.
 
      (10) It shall be an instruction to the committee that it shall consider any instrument which is directed by Act of Parliament to be laid before and to be subject to proceedings in this House only, being-
 
 
    (a) a statutory instrument, or a draft of a statutory instrument;
 
    (b) a scheme, or an amendment to a scheme, or a draft thereof, requiring approval by statutory instrument; or
 
    (c) any other instrument (whether or not in draft), where the proceedings in pursuance of an Act of Parliament are proceedings by way of an affirmative resolution;
  and that it have power to draw such instruments to the special attention of the House on any of the grounds on which the Joint Committee is empowered so to draw the special attention of the House; and that in considering any such instrument the committee do not join with the committee appointed by the Lords.
      (11) Unless the House otherwise orders, each Member nominated to the committee shall continue to be a member of it for the remainder of the Parliament.
 
 
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© Parliamentary copyright 2001
Prepared 26 January 2001