Press Notice 44, Session 2005-06

16 May 2006

Propriety and Honours - update from PASC

The Committee met today to consider how to take forward its inquiry into propriety in the honours system. The matters alleged are central to the political and parliamentary process. There is no doubt that Parliament has the authority to investigate them. However, Parliament also has an interest in ensuring that justice is properly done.

We have listened carefully to evidence given in private yesterday by Deputy Assistant Commissioner Yates and the CPS on the current police inquiry into honours and loans, and have taken our own legal advice from a leading QC. Having discussed a range of competing considerations, the Committee has decided to continue its inquiry. We will publish an interim report based on the evidence we have received so far.

In order to allow the police to progress their inquiries further, we will not, at this stage take further evidence from those classified as key witnesses in the police inquiry, but we reserve the right to do so at a later point.

The Committee is not content to let the police inquiry stretch into an indefinite future, preventing Parliament conducting its own inquiries. It has therefore decided to take evidence again from DAC Yates before the summer recess to provide us with a further update on the progress of the police investigations. They have already indicated to us that they hope to report to the CPS by September.

Once we have heard from the police we will consider the most appropriate way in which to conduct the further stages of our inquiry and the witnesses we may want to call.

Full details of all the Committee’s inquiries can be found on the PASC website at


The Committee was nominated on 13 July 2005.  Its terms of reference are to examine the reports of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsmen, and to consider matters relating to the quality and standards of administration provided by Civil Service departments, and other matters relating to the Civil Service. The Membership of the Committee is as follows:

Tony Wright (Chairman) (Lab) (Cannock Chase), Mr David Burrowes (Con) (Enfield, Southgate), Paul Flynn (Lab) (Newport West), David Heyes (Lab) (Ashton under Lyne), Kelvin Hopkins (Lab) (Luton North), Mr Ian Liddell-Grainger (Con) (Bridgewater), Julie Morgan (Lab) (Cardiff North), Mr Gordon Prentice (Lab) (Pendle), Paul Rowen (Lib Dem) (Rochdale), Grant Shapps (Con) (Welwyn Hatfield), Jenny Willott (Lib Dem) (Cardiff Central)

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