Code of Conduct and Rules of the House

The Code of Conduct and the Guide to the Rules relating to the conduct of Members

The Code of Conduct describes the responsibilities that MPs have as Members of the House and are based on a set of principles. The Guide to the Rules relating to the conduct of Members sets out in detail MPs’ obligations to register and declare their financial interests, and the restrictions on lobbying for reward or consideration. It also describes the procedure for the investigation of complaints.

These responsibilities are separate from and additional to those of other citizens. The Code applies to MPs in all aspects of their public life. It does not seek to regulate what MPs do in their purely private and personal lives.

The obligations set out in the Code are complementary to those which apply to all MPs by virtue of procedural and other rules of the House and the rulings of the Chair, and to those which apply to MPs whose conduct is also within the scope of the Ministerial Code.

The rules create obligations that MPs must follow. The House of Commons also provides guidance to MPs. Guidance generally reflects good practice but it may not be appropriate on every occasion.

The Commissioner may only investigate allegations of breaches of the rules. She may not investigate complaints about:

  •  policy matters;
  • a Member’s views or opinions; and
  • a Member’s handling of or decision about a case, including their handling of correspondence, whether or not anyone involved is a constituent of the Member

unless the MP’s conduct is such that it significantly damages the reputation of the House of Commons as a whole or of its Members more generally.

Review of the Code of Conduct

The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards is asked to review the Code of Conduct and the Guide to the Rules relating to the Conduct of Members once in each Parliament.

Second public consultation

On 10 October 2016 the Commissioner launched the second public consultation exercise to help her with the review. The closing date for responses was 30 November 2016.

The second consultation document is available here

The responses to the second consultation document can be seen here

First public consultation

On 21 January 2016 the Commissioner launched the first public consultation exercise of the review of the current Code of Conduct.

The first consultation document is available here (PDF PDF 2.59 MB)

The responses to the first consultation document can be seen here (PDF PDF 229 KB)

The previous review of the Guide to the Rules relating to the Conduct of Members

The current Code of Conduct was adopted by the House on 17 March 2015, following a review by her predecessor, John Lyon CB on 12 October 2011.

The former Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards concluded his review of the Guide to the Rules relating to the Conduct of Members of Parliament and submitted a memorandum to the Committee on Standards and Privileges on 5 September 2012. The new Guide was approved by the House on 17 March 2015 and applies from the start of the 2015 Parliament. The Commissioner will consult on proposed changes to the Guide during the next phase of her review.  

Page last updated: 10 October 2015