3. Lobbying for Reward or Consideration
The 1947, 1995, and 2002 Resolutions
89. On 6 November 1995
the House agreed to the following Resolution relating to lobbying
for reward or consideration:
|"It is inconsistent with the dignity of the House, with the duty of a Member to his constituents, and with the maintenance of the privilege of freedom of speech, for any Member of this House to enter into any contractual agreement with an outside body, controlling or limiting the Member's complete independence and freedom of action in Parliament or stipulating that he shall act in any way as the representative of such outside body in regard to any matters to be transacted in Parliament; the duty of a Member being to his constituents and to the country as a whole, rather than to any particular section thereof: and that in particular no Members of the House shall, in consideration of any remuneration, fee, payment, or reward or benefit in kind, direct or indirect, which the Member or any member of his or her family has received is receiving or expects to receive|
(i) Advocate or initiate any cause or matter on behalf of any outside body or individual, or
(ii) urge any other Member of either House of Parliament, including Ministers, to do so,
by means of any speech, Question, Motion, introduction of a Bill or Amendment to a Motion or a Bill or any approach, whether oral or in writing, to Ministers or servants of the Crown."
(Resolution of the House of 15 July 1947, amended on 6 November 1995 and on 14 May 2002)
90. This Resolution prohibits paid advocacy. It is wholly incompatible
with the rule that any Member should take payment for speaking
in the House. Nor may a Member, for payment, vote, ask a Parliamentary
Question, table a Motion, introduce a Bill or table or move an
Amendment to a Motion or Bill or urge colleagues or Ministers
to do so.
91. The Resolution does not prevent a Member from
holding a remunerated outside interest as a director, consultant,
or adviser, or in any other capacity, whether or not such interests
are related to membership of the House. Nor does it prevent a
Member from being sponsored by a trade union or any other organisation,
or holding any other registrable interest, or from receiving hospitality
in the course of his or her parliamentary duties whether in the
United Kingdom or abroad.
However, if a financial interest is required to be registered
in the Register of Members' Financial Interests, or declared in
debate, it falls within the scope of the ban on lobbying for reward
92. The Resolution in its current form extends
and reinforces an earlier Resolution of the House in 1947 that
a Member may not enter into any contractual arrangement which
fetters the Member's complete independence in Parliament by any
undertaking to press some particular point of view on behalf of
an outside interest.
Nor, by virtue of the same Resolution, may an outside body (or
person) use any contractual arrangement with a Member of Parliament
as an instrument by which it controls, or seeks to control, his
or her conduct in Parliament, or to punish that Member for any
93. The rule regarding lobbying for reward or consideration
applies equally in the case of benefits received by family members
by blood or by marriage or a relationship equivalent to marriage.
94. In addition to the requirements of the ban on
lobbying for reward or consideration, Members should also bear
in mind the long established convention that interests which are
wholly personal and particular to the Member, and which may arise
from a profession or occupation outside the House, ought not to
be pursued by the Member in proceedings in Parliament.
GUIDELINES ON THE APPLICATION OF
THE BAN ON LOBBYING FOR REWARD OR CONSIDERATION
95. The Resolution was modified in 2002 to reflect
recommendations made by the Committee on Standards in Public Life
in 2000 in the light of evidence it had received that the arrangements
put in place in 1995, particularly those relating to initiation
of proceedings, were operating unduly harshly and were unnecessarily
inhibiting the ability of Members to become well informed and
to use their expertise and experience effectively. The aim of
the recommended changes, while retaining the ban on 'paid advocacy'
and on seeking to confer benefits exclusively on a particular
individual or body, was a relaxation of the restrictions on initiation
to enable a Member with a personal interest to initiate proceedings
on the same basis as that on which they were already allowed to
96. The Committee on Standards and Privileges has
provided the following Guidelines to assist Members in applying
1. Parliamentary proceedings:
When a Member is taking part in any parliamentary proceeding or
making any approach to a Minister or servant of the Crown, advocacy
is prohibited which seeks to confer benefit exclusively upon a
body (or individual) outside Parliament, from which the Member
has received, is receiving, or expects to receive a financial
benefit, or upon any registrable client of such a body (or individual).
Otherwise a Member may speak freely on matters which relate to
the affairs and interests of a body (or individual) from which
he or she receives a financial benefit, provided the benefit is
properly registered and declared.
2. Constituency interests:
Irrespective of any relevant interest which the Member is required
to register or declare, he or she may pursue any constituency
interest in any proceeding of the House or any approach to a Minister
or servant of the Crown, except that:
the Member has a financial relationship with a company in the
Member's constituency the guidelines above relating to parliamentary
proceedings shall apply;
the Member is an adviser to a trade association, or to a professional
(or other representative) body, the Member should avoid using
a constituency interest as the means by which to raise any matter
which the Member would otherwise be unable to pursue.
97. The Committee on Standards and Privileges has
made it clear that it would regard it as a very serious breach
of the rules if a Member failed to register or declare an interest
which was relevant to a proceeding he or she had initiated.
Similar considerations would apply in the case of approaches to
Ministers and others.
98. "Initiating a parliamentary proceeding"
presenting a Petition;
tabling and asking a Parliamentary
asking a supplementary question to
one's own Question;
initiating, or seeking to initiate
an adjournment (or other) debate;
tabling or moving any Motion (e.g.
an "Early Day Motion" a Motion for leave to introduce
a Bill under the "Ten Minute Rule" or a Motion "blocking"
a Private Bill;
tabling or moving an Amendment to
proposing a draft Report, or moving
an Amendment to a draft Report, in a Select Committee;
giving any written notice, or adding
a name to such notice, or making an application for and introducing
a daily adjournment debate, or an emergency debate.
PARAMETERS TO THE OPERATION OF THE
BAN ON LOBBYING FOR REWARD OR CONSIDERATION
99. The Committee on Standards and Privileges has
also agreed to the following parameters to the operation of the
1) Registrable interests: The ban on lobbying
for reward or consideration is to apply with equal effect to any
registrable or declarable financial benefit irrespective of the
source of that benefit (ie no distinction is drawn between financial
benefits received from a company, a representative organisation,
a charity, a foreign government or any other source). Similarly,
no distinction should be drawn in the application of the advocacy
rule to different categories of registrable or declarable benefit
(except for the provision below relating to ballot bills, to overseas
visits, and to membership of other elected bodies). Non-financial
interests registered by Members do not fall within the scope of
the Resolution agreed by the House on 6th November 1995 and the
rule does not apply to them.
present, and future benefits: Unlike the
Register, which lists current benefits, or benefits received in
the immediate past, the Resolution on lobbying of 6 November
1995 also refers, as does the rule on declaration, to past and
expected future benefits and to indirect benefits. It is difficult
to contemplate circumstances where any benefit received some time
in the past, particularly an interest which has not been current
in the past twelve months could be sufficiently relevant to be
taken into account under the rule (see (4) below). Expected future
interests, on the other hand, may be more significant. For example,
Members expecting to derive direct financial benefit from particular
legislation should, as well as declaring the interest in debate
as appropriate, not seek to move Amendments to advance the expected
future interest. The same consideration applies to other proceedings.
benefits: Continuing benefits, ie directorships,
other employment, and sponsorship, can be divested to release
a Member with immediate effect from the restrictions imposed by
the rule, providing that the benefit is disposed of and there
is no expectation of renewal.
benefits: The rule applies to "one-off"
registrable benefits, both visits and gifts, from the day upon
which the interest was acquired until one year after it is registered.
benefits: The rule includes relevant payments
to a Member's family, but any payment to a member of the family
of any Member which arises out of the family member's own occupation
is not regarded as a benefit for the purposes of the Resolution,
although it may be declarable.
Bills: Private Members successful in the
Ballot for Bills are not prevented from introducing and proceeding
with a Bill by reason of the fact that they receive free or subsidised
assistance from an organisation connected with the purposes of
the Bill provided the Member had no pre-existing financial relationship
with the organisation which is registered, or is required to be
Visits: Although, except as set out in
paragraph 47, overseas visits must be registered and declared,
such visits shall not be taken into account when applying the
of other elected bodies: Membership of
the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales, the
Northern Ireland Assembly, the European Parliament and local authorities
in the United Kingdom shall not be taken into account when applying
The restrictions imposed by the rule do not apply to Ministers
when acting in the House as Ministers.
100. The financial interests of Members are extremely
varied, as the Register demonstrates. Each Member will need to
apply the rule and the Guidelines to his or her particular circumstances.
When in doubt, Members will be able to seek the advice of the
Registrar, the Commissioner, or the Committee on Standards and
Privileges. However, some illustrative examples of the application
of the Guidelines may be of value:
a) A Member who is director of a company may not
seek particular preference for that company (eg tax relief, subsidies,
restriction of competition) in any proceeding of the House or
any approach to Ministers or officials.
b) In the case of trade associations, staff associations,
professional bodies, charities (or any similar representative
ii) Membership alone of any representative organisation
does not entail any restrictions under the rule.
iii) A Member who is, for example, a remunerated
not advocate measures for the exclusive benefit of that organisation;
nor speak or act in support of a campaign exclusively for the
benefit of the representative organisation or its membership (eg
a campaign for special tax relief, or for enhanced pay and numbers);
may speak or act in support of a campaign
which is of particular interest to the representative organisation
(eg in the case of an animal welfare organisation, a campaign
to prohibit the importation of animal fur, or prohibit blood sports;
in the case of a charity for cancer research, a campaign for the
prohibition of smoking).
c) When a Member has a problem involving a company
within his or her constituency the Member may take any parliamentary
action to resolve that problem, even though he or she may hold
a remunerated position with a body representing the relevant sector
of the industry regionally or nationally, or with another company
outside the constituency in the same industrial sector. Similarly
a Member who has a remunerated position with a representative
association is not restricted in any way in taking up the case
of a constituent who is a member of that association, or is employed
by a member of that association. The only circumstances when the
Member's actions are restricted are when the Member has a registrable
interest with the company concerned, in which case the guidelines
provide that the Member forfeits the special position he or she
has as a constituency Member.
d) Members are reminded that when accepting foreign
visits they should be mindful of the reputation of the House.
However, the knowledge obtained by Members on such visits can
often be of value to the House as a whole. While it is desirable
that Members should be able to use that knowledge in debate in
the House there is a point at which promoting the interests, of
eg a foreign Government from which hospitality has been received,
crosses the line between informed comment and lobbying. Members
may not, for example, advocate in debate increased United Kingdom
financial assistance to a Government from which they have recently
received hospitality. Nor may a Member advocate any other measure
for the exclusive benefit of the host Government. Subject to this
constraint Members could, having declared their interest, raise
matters relating to their experiences in the country either in
a speech or by initiating any other proceeding. Similarly they
could raise matters relating to the problems of the country generally,
or make use of any local insight they have obtained into regional
problems (eg the situation in the Middle East or in South East
Asia, economic or social problems or an external threat) or information
they have obtained on local developments or initiatives.
e) A Member whose visit was funded by a non-governmental
organisation (NGO) or other agency would not be inhibited in speaking
about its work or the problems it was dealing with. Only a matter
which was for the exclusive benefit of the NGO or agency, eg a
request for a grant-in-aid to the particular organisation, could
not be pursued. Accommodation provided solely for the purpose
of holding constituency surgeries is exempt from registration
and therefore from the application of the rule.
RESPONSIBILITY OF THE MEMBER
101. In common with the rules of the House relating
to registration and declaration of interest the main responsibility
for observation of the ban on lobbying for reward or consideration
lies with the individual Member. The Select Committee on Standards
in Public Life stated in its Second Report that "it is important
to make clear that it will not be the function of the Chair to
enforce the ban
during speeches, either by interrupting
a Member thought to be contravening it, or by declining to call
him. Complaints will be a matter for the Commissioner to investigate
in the first instance".
The Speaker has declined to receive points of order relating to
registration or lobbying.
33 The Resolution was subsequently amended on 14th
May 2002. Back
The principal Resolutions of the House relating to lobbying are
set out in the Appendix. Back
Such interests must, of course, be registered or declared when
appropriate (see Sections 1 and 2 above). Back
Committee of Privileges, Report, Session 1946-47, HC 118, paragraphs
11 to 15. Back
Committee of Privileges, Second Report, Session 1974-75, HC 634,
paragraph 3. Back
Resolution of the House of 15th July 1947, amended on 6th November
1995 and on 14th May 2002. Back
Sixth Report of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, Cm.
4557-I, paragraph 3.96. Back
The above Guidelines supersede the Guidelines in force until 14
May 2002 which reflected the distinction drawn by the Select Committee
on Standards in Public Life between the initiation of, and participation
in, parliamentary proceedings. Back
Fourth Report, Session 2001-02, Restrictions on the Initiation
of Parliamentary Proceedings: A Consultation Paper, HC 478, paragraph
Select Committee on Standards in Public Life, Second Report, Session
1994-95, HC 816, paragraphs 33 and 34. Back
Ibid, paragraph 37. Back
Select Committee on Standards in Public Life, Second Report, Session
1994-95, HC 816, paragraph 26. Back
Eg HC Deb, vol 276, col 605 and vol 277, cols 767-68. Back