Memorandum submitted by the Clerk of the
I have been asked to advise the Committee on Standards
and Privileges on the position of Members who have not taken their
seats in relation to the Code of Conduct and the Register of Members'
As a general proposition, any person who has been
duly elected to serve in the House is a Member of the House, with
the rights and obligations of a Member. Taking the oath is not
a condition precedent for membership, although a Member who takes
his seat or votes without having taken the oath renders himself
liable to statutory penalties (see pp. 242-3 of the current edition
It follows that the Code of Conduct and the obligation
to register and declare interests apply to all Members whether
or not they have taken their seat.
A Member who has not taken his seat may not take
part in proceedings and will therefore have no opportunity to
make an oral declaration of any relevant interests, but he is
nonetheless required to declare them in any dealings he may have
with Ministers or civil servants.
Under paragraph 10 of The Guide to the Rules, Members
are required to register their interests with three months of
taking their seat. A Member who does not take his seat is
not exempt from the requirement to register, but owing to the
wording of The Guide to the Rules he is in effect given an unlimited
period within which to do so. The Committee may take the view
that an amendment to the rules to require Members to register
with three months of their election would end this anomaly.
7 February 2002