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Explanatory Notes: Declarations of Principal Residence
On 22 March 2010 the House of Lords agreed the House Committee Third Report – Financial Support for Members of the House: Declaration of Principal Residence and Publication.
From the beginning of the new Parliament (18 May 2010) a valid declaration of principal residence was required to be completed and returned to the Finance Department before claims for reimbursement for night subsistence could be processed. If a Member did not claim night subsistence, they were not required to fill in a declaration. In making a declaration, Members were reminded of their obligations under the House of Lords Code of Conduct. They were required to act on their personal honour and, as with all their parliamentary activities, in accordance with the seven general principles of conduct set out by the Committee on Standards in Public Life.
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The numbers below relate to those numbers on the left-hand side of the declaration form.
The Member’s full title (e.g. Lord Smith/ Baroness Jones of London).
Contains the location of Member’s principal residence to the level of city, town or county. Members were encouraged to state the city or town unless this led to the possibility that their place of residence could be easily identified; otherwise they should state the county. If their principal residence was overseas, ‘overseas’ or country of residence could be stated here.
If a Member felt that their security may be put at risk by the publication of these details, they were required to provide Black Rod with a written explanation of the circumstances and their concerns. Their submission was treated in strict confidence. Black Rod would take advice as necessary and his decision, which was final, was made in writing to the Member. In these instances the form is published, but the location field has been left blank.
Members were required to make a declaration of where they spend most of their time when the House is not sitting, i.e. non-sitting days, weekends, and recesses, and in particular where they spend most nights. In making this declaration they should have considered both their current pattern of residence and where they expected to spend their time for the forthcoming year. If their circumstances changed they were required to make a new declaration.
If because of exceptional circumstances a Member wished to register a principal residence where they did not, or may not, spend most nights when the House was not sitting, they were required to qualify their declaration with a valid explanation. Examples of a valid explanation could have been that they were undergoing long-term treatment in hospital or that they had been temporarily posted abroad as part of a military or diplomatic mission.
Members could have chosen, but were not required, to add further information in support of their declaration. Examples of information they may have wished to include were the length of time they had lived at the address or where their immediate family was based. They could also have included additional information.
Members were required to submit a copy of their current council tax bill and one additional document from the approved list as evidence of their principal residence.
Members indicated on the form which additional document they submitted.
The second side of the form contained:
These details, along with the supporting documents submitted, contain personal data and are not published for data protection reasons.
If a Member’s circumstances changed they were required to complete a change of declaration of principal residence form, as soon as practicable, and no later than one month after the change of circumstances.
The Declarations of Principal Residence are published by Member grouped alphabetically. A table summarising the declarations is also published. On a few published declarations some minor redactions have been made in relation to personal data, for example, a Member’s signature or other personal information.
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