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House of Lords: Right to Regulate its own Affairs

Lord Campbell of Alloway asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Jay of Paddington): The Government recognise the right of the House of Lords to regulate its own affairs. We believe recommendations from the current study by the Committee on Standards in Public Life will be useful to the House in carrying out that function.

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House of Lords' Register of Interests

Lord Campbell of Alloway asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they would oppose an investigation by a committee of the House into the effectiveness of the House of Lords' Register of Interests.[HL2232]

Baroness Jay of Paddington: The Committee on Standards in Public Life is looking at standards of conduct in the House of Lords, including the effectiveness of the Register of Interests. If the House wishes to appoint such a committee, it would be better for this to be set up to consider the findings and recommendations of the Committee on Standards in Public Life.

Lord Campbell of Alloway asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether it is their view that Bishops and Lords of Appeal in Ordinary should be subject to the same requirements to register their interests as other Members of the House.[HL2233]

Baroness Jay of Paddington: The Government do not wish to prejudge the recommendations of the inquiry by the Committee on Standards in Public Life, which we believe will cover the issue.

Lord Campbell of Alloway asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they lack confidence in the House of Lords' register of interests; and, if so, for what reasons.[HL2234]

Baroness Jay of Paddington: The Government accept the view of the Committee on Standards in Public Life that the time is right to review the effectiveness of the voluntary register brought in following the Griffiths report. The context of the committee's inquiry is set out in the issues and questions document published by the committee on 4 April.

Committee on Standards in Public Life

Lord Mancroft asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they consider that minutes of meetings of members of the Committee on Standards in Public Life should be published in the interests of openness about decisions they take.[HL2236]

Baroness Jay of Paddington: The decision on the publication of minutes of its meetings and of information gained during its inquiries rests with the committee itself in the context of its own commitment to openness as one of the committee's principles of public life.

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Lord Mancroft asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether any staff attached to the Committee on Standards in Public Life have been engaged in political activity or have been members of a political party within the last 10 years; and what has been the nature of that activity.[HL2237]

Baroness Jay of Paddington: The Committee on Standards in Public Life is currently supported by a secretariat of eight Civil Service posts. The Civil Service Code and the Cabinet Office Management Code place restrictions on the political activity, at local and national level, of civil servants and require the confidential disclosure of conflicts of interest to senior managers. Wider disclosure of such information would infringe individuals' privacy. There are no restrictions on membership by civil servants of political parties, and this information is not therefore collected.

Lord Mancroft asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether there is a register of interests of members of the Committee on Standards in Public Life; and, if not, whether they have plans to institute such a Register. [HL2239]

Baroness Jay of Paddington: A register of interests of members of the Committee on Standards in Public Life is maintained in accordance with the committee's code of practice. A copy of the register and of the code of practice can be obtained from the committee and is also published on the committee's website at www.public-standards.gov.uk.

Lord Mancroft asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many staff have been attached to the Committee on Standards in Public Life; and what has been its annual budget for each year since it has been established. [HL2240]

Baroness Jay of Paddington: The Committee on Standards in Public Life is currently supported by a secretariat of eight Civil Service posts. Details of members in post have been included in each of the committee's reports and in its annual reports. The committee's expenditure for 1998-99 was £676,358. Information for earlier years is published in the Committee on Standards in Public Life Annual Reports 1994-98. Copies of the reports are available in the Library. The 1999 annual report will be published in the summer and will include details of expenditure in the last financial year. The committee's annual budget for 2000-01 is £535,000.

Lord Mancroft asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether any members of the Committee on Standards in Public Life have made any political donations over the last 10 years or have shareholdings in companies that have made such donations.[HL2241]

Baroness Jay of Paddington: Members of the Committee on Standards in Public Life are not required to record details of donations they or

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companies in which they have shareholdings have made to political organisations or other institutions.

The committee's code of practice makes clear the need to be open about any potential or perceived conflicts of interest and provides a mechanism for dealing with such situations if they arise.

Lord Dean of Harptree asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When each of the current members of the Committee on Standards in Public Life was appointed; for what term; and whether they receive any payment from public funds.[HL2242]

Baroness Jay of Paddington: Members of the Committee on Standards in Public Life are generally appointed for terms of three years, with the possibility of one re-appointment.

The table below gives details of the current membership of the committee along with the term of the appointment.

AppointedTerm Ends
Lord Neill of Bladen, QC Chairman10 November 199731 October 2000
Sir Clifford Boulton Member1 October 1994*31 October 2000
Professor Alice Brown Member18 November 199831 October 2001
Sir Anthony Cleaver Member1 January 199831 December 2000
Lord Goodhart Member11 November 199731 October 2000
Frances Heaton Member1 January 199831 December 2000
Rt. Hon John MacGregor, OBE, MP Member11 November 199731 October 2000
Rt. Hon Lord Shore of Stepney Member1 October 1994*31 October 2000
Sir William Utting Member1 October 1994*31 October 2000
Ann Abraham Member17 January 200031 December 2002

* These members were re-appointed on 1 November 1997 for a second three-year term.

Members of the Committee on Standards in Public Life who do not already receive a salary from public funds may claim £180 for each day they work on committee business. The chairman may claim £500 per day. All members are reimbursed for actual expenses incurred.


Lord Dean of Harptree asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether members of the Committee on Standards in Public Life are placed under any restrictions to (a) their employment; (b) acceptance of honours; (c) election to the House of Commons; and (d) elevation to membership of the House of Lords, while they are serving on the committee or for any period after their term ends.[HL2243]

Baroness Jay of Paddington: Members of the Committee on Standards in Public Life are bound by its code of practice. This sets out the restrictions on political activity (including any paid office in a political party) that members, with the exception of the three political nominees, may engage in. Members are under a duty not to misuse information gained in the course

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of their public service for personal gain. There are no other restrictions on the acceptance of employment or on acceptance of honours or elevation to the House of Lords. However, Members of the House of Lords are guided in their conduct in the House by the statement made in the House by Lord Addison on 21 March 1951.

Lord Dean of Harptree asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have any plans to place the Committee on Standards in Public Life on a statutory basis.[HL2244]

Baroness Jay of Paddington: There are no such plans at present.

Lord Dean of Harptree asked Her Majesty's Government:

    To whom the Committee on Standards in Public Life is accountable for the proper and effective conduct of its duties.[HL2245]

Baroness Jay of Paddington: The committee is accountable to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is accountable to Parliament for the conduct of the committee.


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