The House of Lords Conduct Committee has today published a report by Lucy Scott-Moncrieff CBE, the independent House of Lords Commissioner for Standards, into the conduct of Lord Stone of Blackheath.
The report covers two separate complaints against Lord Stone. The Commissioner found that he breached the Code of Conduct with behaviour that met the criteria for harassment related to the protected characteristics of religion and sex in one instance, and age and sex in another.
The new complaints about Lord Stone’s behaviour were made to the Commissioner following her publication of a previous report in October 2019 ( PDF 580 KB) which found he had breached the Parliamentary behaviour code by harassing complainants in relation to the protected characteristics of age, sex and gender reassignment. The new complaints related to behaviour which took place before the previous report had been published and before Lord Stone had begun a course of bespoke behaviour change training.
The Committee issued the following statement:
"We are a Committee made up of lay members as well as members of the House. We understand that our report today will make difficult reading, especially for those who read the Commissioner’s first report on the conduct of Lord Stone.
"Our report explains why, after careful consideration of the range of possible sanctions open to us, we agreed with the Commissioner that further training was appropriate in this case for the reasons she provides: namely that the behaviour complained about took place at a similar time to the behaviour covered in the Commissioner’s first report and before Lord Stone started his training; and that the original recommendation for training took into account the knowledge that there was a pattern of behaviour that needed to be addressed.
"Our decision to support the Commissioner’s recommendation that Lord Stone should continue to attend behaviour change training should in no way be seen as us downplaying the seriousness of this behaviour. The training is bespoke, one-on-one and open ended; the number of sessions will depend on how effective the facilitators believe the training is in each case. We have emphasised that the sessions should be adapted to address the precise behaviour covered in this investigation. We have also made clear that if Lord Stone were to commit further similar breaches of the Code in the future, the Committee would be inclined to apply a much more severe sanction.
"We are grateful to complainant CD for setting out her thoughts on sanctions for us. As our report makes clear, we took particular note of the points she made about the traumatic effect that Lord Stone’s conduct had on her. We are aware that making a complaint against a member of the House is a hard step for staff to take. We are pleased that staff are coming forward and that the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme is providing them with support and advice when making complaints."