Standards and Privileges

Session 2002-03

Press Notice No 4


Wicks Committee Report on Standards of Conduct in the House of Commons

In its Second Report: Eighth Report of the Committee on Standards in Public Life: "Standards of Conduct in the House" (HC  403), published at 12 noon today, the Committee on Standards and Privileges sets out its observations on the 27 recommendations made by the Wicks Committee in its Eighth Report, Cm. 5663, published on 21 November 2002.

The Committee welcomes both the extent to which the report's thinking is in line with the evidence given to the Wicks Committee by its Chairman and Members, and by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, and its recognition of the paramount importance of Parliament remaining free to regulate its own affairs without executive or judicial interference.

Sir George Young, MP, Chairman of the Committee on Standards and Privileges commented:

"Sir Nigel Wicks and his colleagues have produced a very constructive and helpful report, the objectives of which we fully share.  I greatly welcome its recognition that real progress has been made since the Nolan Report in 1995 in establishing and enforcing high standards of conduct, and that the overwhelming majority of members seek to, and in practice do, uphold high standards of propriety.  This is a valuable vote of confidence in our self-regulatory system.

"It is the House, rather than my Committee, that will decide on most of the recommendations.  We are, however, giving our full support to the vast majority of them, including the key ones on the political composition of the Committee; the presence of Parliamentary Private Secretaries; and the principle of ensuring that our procedures are in all cases fair to all, including the Member under investigation.  On the other hand, where we feel that the underlying objectives of the Wicks Committee can be more readily achieved in another way, we have made appropriate proposals for the House to consider.

"The Committee looks forward to a debate in the House on the Wicks Committee report and its own observations.  We are asking the Government to provide an early opportunity."

ENDS.

Press Enquiries:

Dr Christopher Ward
Clerk of the Committee
Tel. 020 7219 3259