The House of Lords House Committee has today published a report recommending new sanctions be introduced for breaches of the Code of Conduct.
If a Member is found to have breached the Code of Conduct, the House currently only has the power to suspend them for a period not longer than the remainder of the Parliament. This is because Members attend the House of Lords by virtue of their writ of summons issued by the Monarch following a general election or the creation of a new Peerage.
The House Committee has recommended that two new sanctions be available to the Committee for Privileges and Conduct when a Member is found to have breached the Code of Conduct. These are:
Preventing a Member from claiming any money from the House for a specified period.
Denying a Member from using the facilities of the House for a specified period. This would include dining and banqueting facilities, car parking, the library and research services, ICT equipment, supplies, network accounts and support, bookable meeting rooms, desk space, stationery and pre-paid envelopes.
As these new sanctions are not related to the writ of summons, they could be applied for any defined period irrespective of the point in the life of the Parliament at which the sanction were applied. The House Committee does not suggest any limitation to what the defined period could be for either sanction. The period would be for the Privileges and Conduct Committee to decide in each case.
The recommendations will be considered by the House of Lords and will have to be agreed by the House before coming into effect. They will be available to the Committee for Privileges and Conduct for cases of breaches of the Code of Conduct which occur after the new sanctions have been agreed and will not be applied retrospectively.
The session will be webcast at www.parliamentlive.tv and is also open to the public. Journalists wishing to attend should go to Parliament’s Cromwell Green Entrance and should allow time for security screening.