A report published by the Lords Committee for Privileges and Conduct on 28 July has found that Baroness Morgan of Huyton did not breach the House of Lords Code of Conduct. Baroness Morgan referred herself to the Sub-Committee on Lords Conduct ahead of the broadcast on the 22 March 2010 of the television programme ‘Dispatches’.
The Committee endorses the Sub-Committee’s finding, clearing Baroness Morgan of any breach of the 2001 Code of Conduct. This was the version of the Code in force when the allegations against her were made by Dispatches.
Baroness Morgan is cleared of allegations in relation to parliamentary influence, providing prohibited parliamentary advice and services and failing to declare relevant interests. The Sub-Committee, having reviewed the transcripts of Baroness Morgan’s conversation with an undercover journalist, concludes that “she made clear that the Code of Conduct existed and that she would be bound by its provisions.”
Baroness Morgan’s understanding of the Code of Conduct was found to be ‘imperfect’ in relation to provisions on Members speaking in debates related to their clients’ interests and approaching Ministers or Civil Servants for anything other than information. The Sub-Committee suggests that “All members should have a better understanding of the rules than Lady Morgan exhibited.” However, the Sub-Committee concludes that, despite her imperfect understanding of the Code, Baroness Morgan did not breach its provisions.
The Committee for Privileges and Conduct is appointed each session by the House to consider matters relating to parliamentary privilege, and to oversee the operation of the Code of Conduct. Detailed consideration of matters relating to the Code of Conduct is undertaken by the Sub-Committee on Lords’ Conduct.
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