Standards and Privileges Committee on MPs’ allowances

28 April 2009

Only changes arising from an independent, external review of the system of Members’ Allowances will command public support, say Members of Standards and Privileges Committee.

After careful consideration at its meeting this morning, Members of the Committee on Standards and Privileges have today tabled Amendments to the Government’s Motions on Members’ Allowances, which are to be debated in the House on Thursday. The Amendments have been signed by all ten Members of the Committee, who between them represent four political parties.

The effect of the Amendments is to allow the independent Committee on Standards in Public Life, chaired by Sir Christopher Kelly, to complete its review of Members’ allowances without being pre-empted by decisions of the House of Commons.

The Members of the Committee are unanimously of the view that only changes arising from an independent, external review of the system of Members’ Allowances will command public support

Amendments to the Government’s Motions on Members’ Allowances:

26 MEMBERS’ ALLOWANCES

Ms Harriet Harman

(1) That this House welcomes the Prime Minister’s decision of 23 March 2009 to invite the Committee on Standards in Public Life to inquire into Members’ allowances;

(2) That it is necessary to recognise the additional costs incurred by hon. Members as a result of the need for them to undertake parliamentary duties both in Westminster and their constituency;

(3) That, in the opinion of this House, any new arrangements relating to Members’ allowances ought to—

(a) take account of hon. Members’ attendance at Westminster,

(b) be transparent and accountable, and

(c) reduce the existing annual limits on the allowances which hon. Members may claim, producing overall cost savings;

(4) That, to resolve this matter urgently and in a way that will command maximum public support, it would be desirable for the House to have an opportunity to consider any recommendations from the Committee as early as possible.

Sir George Young, Paddy Tipping, Nick Harvey, Mr Greg Knight, Mr Kevin Barron, Mr Elfyn Llwyd, Mr Andrew Dismore, Mr Chris Mullin, Hon Nicholas Soames, Dr Alan Whitehead

As an Amendment to Ms Harriet Harman’s proposed Motion (Members’ Allowances):

Line 3, leave out from “allowances” to end and add “; believes that in order to command maximum public support for change the House should defer its conclusions until after the Committee has reported; and further believes it would be desirable for the House to have an opportunity to consider any recommendations from the Committee as early as possible.”

27 MEMBERS’ ALLOWANCES (GREATER LONDON)

Ms Harriet Harman

That, with effect from 1 April 2010, no distinction shall be made for the purposes of the rules governing Members’ allowances between an hon. Member who represents an inner-London constituency and an hon. Member who represents any other constituency the whole of which falls within 20 miles of the Palace of Westminster.

Sir George Young, Nick Harvey, Mr Greg Knight, Mr Kevin Barron, Mr Elfyn Llwyd, Paddy Tipping, Mr Andrew Dismore, Mr Chris Mullin, Hon Nicholas Soames, Dr Alan Whitehead

As an Amendment to Ms Harriet Harman’s proposed Motion (Members’ Allowances (Greater London)):

Line 1, leave out from “That” to end and add “this House welcomes the Prime Minister’s decision of 23 March 2009 to invite the Committee on Standards in Public Life to inquire into Members’ allowances; believes that in order to command maximum public support for change the House should defer its conclusions until after the Committee has reported; and further believes it would be desirable for the House to have an opportunity to consider any recommendations from the Committee relating to allowances for Members representing constituencies on the London area as early as possible.”

28 REGISTRATION OF MEMBERS’ FINANCIAL INTERESTS

Ms Harriet Harman

(1) That, for the purpose of complying with the Resolution of the House of 22 May 1974 relating to Registration of Members’ Financial Interests, in respect of interests falling within Category 1 (Directorships), Category 2 (Remunerated employment, office, profession, etc) or Category 3 (Clients), hon. Members shall furnish the Registrar with the following particulars—

(a) the precise amount of each individual payment made in relation to any interest,

(b) the nature of the work carried out in return for that payment,

(c) the number of hours worked during the period to which the payment relates, and

(d) except where disclosure of the information would be contrary to any legal or established professional duty of privacy or confidentiality, the name and address of the person, organisation or company making the payment;

(2) That such interests shall be registered whether or not their value in any given year exceeds one per cent. of the current Parliamentary salary;

(3) That the provisions of this Resolution shall apply whether or not the interest in question depends essentially upon, or arises out of, the hon. Members’ position as a Member of Parliament; and

(4) That the provisions of this Resolution shall come into effect on 1 July 2009.

Sir George Young, Mr Greg Knight, Mr Kevin Barron, Mr Elfyn Llwyd, Paddy Tipping, Nick Harvey, Mr Andrew Dismore, Mr Chris Mullin, Hon Nicholas Soames, Dr Alan Whitehead

As an Amendment to Ms Harriet Harman’s proposed Motion (Registration of Members’ Financial Interests):

Line 1, leave out from “That” to end and add “this House welcomes the Prime Minister’s decision of 23 March 2009 to invite the Committee on Standards in Public Life to inquire into Members’ allowances; believes that in order to command maximum public support for change the House should defer its conclusions until after the Committee has reported; and further believes it would be desirable for the House to have an opportunity to consider any recommendations from the Committee relating to the registration of Members’ Financial Interests as early as possible.”

29 MEMBERS’ STAFF

Ms Harriet Harman

(1) That, in the opinion of this House, staff who work for an hon. Member should be employed by the House, as a personal appointment and managed by the hon. Member; and

(2) That the House of Commons Commission shall consider this decision and make recommendations for its implementation, including any transitional provisions which may be necessary, by 29 October 2009.

Sir George Young, Mr Kevin Barron, Mr Elfyn Llwyd, Paddy Tipping, Nick Harvey, Mr Greg Knight, Mr Andrew Dismore, Mr Chris Mullin, Hon Nicholas Soames, Dr Alan Whitehead

As an Amendment to Ms Harriet Harman’s proposed Motion (Members’ Staff):

Line 1, leave out from “That” to end and add “this House welcomes the Prime Minister’s decision of 23 March 2009 to invite the Committee on Standards in Public Life to inquire into Members’ allowances; believes that in order to command maximum public support for change the House should defer its conclusions until after the Committee has reported; and further believes it would be desirable for the House to have an opportunity to consider any recommendations from the Committee relating to the employment of Members’ staff as early as possible.”

30 MEMBERS’ ALLOWANCES (EVIDENCE OF EXPENDITURE)

Ms Harriet Harman

That, in respect of any claim for payment made by an hon. Member after 1 July 2009 in relation to any allowance or expenditure for which documentary evidence is required, such evidence shall be required regardless of the sum concerned.

Sir George Young, Mr Elfyn Llwyd, Paddy Tipping, Nick Harvey, Mr Greg Knight, Mr Kevin Barron, Mr Andrew Dismore, Mr Chris Mullin, Hon Nicholas Soames, Dr Alan Whitehead

As an Amendment to Ms Harriet Harman’s proposed Motion (Members’ Allowances (evidence of expenditure)):

Line 1, leave out from “That” to end and add “this House welcomes the Prime Minister’s decision of 23 March 2009 to invite the Committee on Standards in Public Life to inquire into Members’ allowances; believes that in order to command maximum public support for change the House should defer its conclusions until after the Committee has reported; and further believes it would be desirable for the House to have an opportunity to consider any recommendations from the Committee relating to the documentary evidence required for payment of Members’ claims of any allowance or expenditure as early as possible.”

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