Members leaving the House - Procedure Committee Contents


APPENDIX 1: PROPOSED TEXT FOR THE COMPANION TO THE STANDING ORDERS


The following text is proposed for inclusion in future editions of the Companion, replacing paragraphs 1.27-1.29 of the 2010 edition (for which see Appendix 2). Paragraph 1.30, which describes access to facilities for those on Leave of Absence, would also require minor amendment to extend it to members who have taken voluntary retirement.

A separate amendment would be required to paragraph 4 of the Code of Conduct, to exclude those who have taken voluntary retirement from the provisions of the Code.

Leave of Absence

Members of the House are to attend the sittings of the House. If they cannot attend, they should obtain leave of absence.[5] At any time during a Parliament, a member of the House may obtain leave of absence for the rest of the Parliament by applying in writing to the Clerk of the Parliaments.

Before the beginning of every Parliament the Clerk of the Parliaments writes to each member who was on leave of absence at the end of the preceding Parliament to ask whether he wishes to renew that leave of absence for the new Parliament. In addition, at the start of each session of Parliament the Clerk of the Parliaments writes to those members (other than bishops) who attended very infrequently in the previous session, inviting them to apply for Leave of Absence.

The House grants leave of absence to those who apply. The House also grants leave to all members, to whom the Clerk of the Parliaments has written as described in the preceding paragraph, who fail to reply within three months of the Clerk of the Parliaments' letter being sent.

Directions relating to those on leave of absence are as follows:

(a)  a member of the House who has been granted leave of absence should not attend sittings of the House or of any committee of the House until his leave has expired or been terminated, except to take the oath of allegiance;[6]

(b)  a member of the House on leave of absence who wishes to attend during the period for which leave was granted should give notice in writing to the Clerk of the Parliaments at least three months before the day on which he wishes to attend; and his leave is terminated three months from the date of this notice, or sooner if the House so directs;[7]

(c)  a member of the House on leave of absence may not act as a supporter~ in the ceremony of introduction;[8]

(d)  a member of the House on leave of absence may not vote in the election of the Lord Speaker or in by-elections for hereditary peers.

In applying the provisions on leave of absence the Clerk of the Parliaments may seek the advice of the Leave of Absence Sub-Committee of the Procedure Committee. The Sub-Committee is chaired by the Chairman of Committees; the other members are the Chief Whips of the three main parties and the Convenor of the Crossbench Peers.

The voluntary retirement scheme

Any member of the House of Lords may, at any time, write to the Clerk of the Parliaments indicating his or her wish permanently to retire from the service of the House.

By retiring from the service of the House a member indicates his or her wish permanently to cease taking any part in the work of the House; and the House, in return, recognises the member's completed service to the House.

Having received an application to retire, the Clerk of the Parliaments consults the Lord Speaker and the member's party or group, who in turn consult the member and seek confirmation that it is his or her intention to retire permanently from the service of the House. Not less than two weeks is allowed for this informal consultation to be completed.

The Lord Speaker notifies the House on the day the retirement takes effect. Retirement is also marked informally outside the Chamber.

Members who have retired from the service of the House should not attend sittings of the House or of any committee of the House. They may not vote in any election of the Lord Speaker or by-elections for hereditary peers. Retired members may sit on the steps of the Throne, and are afforded the same access to other facilities as members on Leave of Absence, with the exception that they are not entitled to receive parliamentary papers. Retired members are not subject to the Code of Conduct.

Retired members remain peers, and retirement does not affect the use of their title. Retired Members also continue to be treated for the purposes of general law as Members of the House.


5   SO 22. Back

6   SO 22(6). Back

7   SO 22(7). Back

8   Leave of Absence 1st Rpt 1957-58. Back


 
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