Press Notice 7 (19 July 2004)

Parliamentary Standards: Review of the Code of Conduct for Members

The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, Sir Philip Mawer, today announced the start of a review of the Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament. Publishing a consultation paper setting out issues to be considered in the review, Sir Philip said:

"After eight years experience of the existing Code, it is timely to consider whether it can be improved as a statement of the House's expectations of its Members and a key part of the arrangements for assuring the public that high standards of conduct in Parliament are being maintained. Both the Committee on Standards and Privileges, to which I shall report the outcome of this consultation exercise, and I would welcome views from as wide a range of contributors as possible."

Drawing on experience of operating the present Code and similar codes in other legislatures, the consultation paper identifies, as a starting point for discussion, a range of possibilities for revision of the Code. Among questions to be examined in the review are:

  • Whether the current definition of the Code's purpose and scope are right

  • Whether the content of the Code should be amended or restated

  • Whether the structure, style and presentation of the Code can be improved to increase its helpfulness to MPs and the public.

Copies of the consultation paper have been sent to all MPs and to a number of outside individuals and bodies, including the Committee on Standards in Public Life. It is also being published on the world wide web at www.parliament.uk/about_commons/pcfs.cfm

Responses should be sent to Sir Philip Mawer at the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA by 16 October 2004.

After considering the comments he receives, the Commissioner will put proposals for the revision of the Code to the Committee on Standards and Privileges. The Committee will then make recommendations as necessary to the House for changes in the Code, with the aim of securing the House's agreement to these in time for the revised Code to come into effect at the beginning of the next Parliament.

Note to Editors

Copies of the consultation paper can be obtained on request from the Commissioner's office (tel 020 7219 3738/0311).