THE CODE OF CONDUCT
THE GUIDE TO THE RULES
RELATING TO THE CONDUCT OF MEMBERS
Revisions to the version approved by the House on
24 July 1996 are indicated in red.
THE CODE OF CONDUCT FOR MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT
Prepared pursuant to the Resolution of
the House of 19th July 1995
I. Purpose of the Code
The purpose of the Code of Conduct is to
assist Members in the discharge of their obligations to the House,
their constituents and the public at large.
The Code applies to Members in
all aspects of their public life. It does not seek to regulate
what Members do in their purely private and personal lives.
II. Public duty
By virtue of the oath, or affirmation,
of allegiance taken by all Members when they are elected to the
House, Members have a duty to be faithful and bear true allegiance
to Her Majesty the Queen, her heirs and successors, according
Members have a duty to uphold the law and
to act on all occasions in accordance with the public trust placed
Members have a general duty to act in the
interests of the nation as a whole; and a special duty to their
III. Personal conduct
Members shall observe the general principles
of conduct identified by the Committee on Standards in Public
as applying to 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.
In carrying out public business, including make public
appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals
for rewards and benefits, holders of public office
should make choices on merit.
Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and
actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever
scrutiny is appropriate to their office.
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.
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.
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.
The acceptance by a Member of a bribe to influence his
or her conduct as a Member, including any fee, compensation or
reward in connection with the promotion of, or opposition to,
any Bill, Motion, or other matter submitted, or intended to be
submitted to the House, or to any Committee of the House, is contrary
to the law of Parliament.
Members shall fulfil conscientiously the requirements
of the House in respect of the registration of interests in the
Register of Members' 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.
No Member shall act as a paid advocate in any proceeding
of the House.
No improper use shall be made of any payment or allowance
made to Members for public purposes and the administrative rules
which apply to such payments and allowances must be strictly observed.
Members must bear in mind that information which they
receive in confidence in the course of their parliamentary duties
should be used only in connection with those duties, and that
such information must never be used for the purpose of financial
Cm 2850, p. 14. Back