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The Register of Lords' Interests, established in November 1995, is published annually. This paper explains how the Register works and distinguishes between the requirements of the Register and the Cabinet Office "Code of Conduct and Guidance on Procedures for Ministers".

Categories of Interests
There are three categories under which Lords register interests:

    1. Consultancies or similar arrangements, involving payment or other incentive or reward for providing Parliamentary advice or services (Mandatory).

    2. Financial interests in businesses involved in Parliamentary lobbying on behalf of clients (Mandatory).

    3. Other particulars relating to matters which Lords consider may affect the public perception of the way in which they discharge their Parliamentary duties (Discretionary).

The November 1995 resolution describes the position of a Lord with a category 1 or 2 entry as follows:

    "Lords who accept payment or other incentive or reward for providing Parliamentary advice or services, or who have any financial interest in a business involved in Parliamentary lobbying on behalf of clients, should not speak, vote, lobby or otherwise take advantage of their position as Members of the House on behalf of their clients".

These categories also include a Lord who accepts a fee for these services but donates the fee to a charity.

Lords with a direct financial interest in a subject (other than that in category 1 or 2) on which they speak in the House should declare it, and make it clear that it is a financial interest. They should also declare any non-financial interest of which the House should be aware to make a balanced judgement of their arguments. This sort of interest could be indirect or non-pecuniary e.g. trusteeships or unpaid membership of an interested organisation.

These interests may be entered under category 3 but their registration is not mandatory, so a peer who has share holdings or directorships (if a non-category 2 company) is not required to register them. The absence of an entry does not imply that a peer has no shareholdings, chairmanships etc. Peers are not expected to register visits that they have made at the invitation of organisations nor are they expected to register gifts.

The Committee on Lords Interests (a sub-committee of the Committee for Privileges) has powers to investigate any allegations of failure to comply with registration and to advise Lords on the application of the guidelines. The Chairman is Lord Griffiths. The Registrar is Mr James Vallance White.

At the time of writing there have been no alleged failures to register, nor any failures to abide by the rules governing Lords' activities in Parliament following registration of their interests.

The Register - Updating and Viewing
The register is published annually but record copies are kept up to date at the Table of the House, in the Library and in the Judicial Office. The latter copy is available for inspection by the public. To do so, call 0171-219 3074 to arrange to view the register in the House of Lords Record Office.

Peers who hold ministerial posts are also governed by the Cabinet Office Ministerial Code "A Code of Conduct and Guidance on Procedures for Ministers" (July 1997). This covers: Ministers' relationships with Government, Parliament, their departments, civil servants, constituency and party interests, visits and hospitality, presentation of policy, their private interests and pensions.

Any queries about ministers' interests should be addressed to the relevant government department.

Further information about The Lords' Register of Interests is available from:

The House of Lords Judicial Office 0171- 219 3111

JUNE 1997

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Prepared 2 November 1998