Lords Conduct Committee proposes new rules on disclosing income from foreign governments and connected companies
30 November 2020
The House of Lords Conduct Committee has today published a report recommending tighter disclosure requirements on Members who earn money from foreign governments or companies or individuals linked to foreign governments.
The report follows a report from the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament which raised the issue of Members of the House of Lords with business interests in Russia and in companies linked to the Russian state. The Conduct Committee point out that Members are already required to register all paid work, as well as gifts received worth more than £300. Members are also banned from providing paid parliamentary advice or services or lobbying in exchange for payment.
The Conduct Committee are now recommending the rules be tightened to require Members to declare how much they are paid, as well as the source of payment, where the source of the payment is:
- A foreign state
- An organisation that might be thought by a reasonable member of the public to be foreign state owned or controlled
- An individual with official status in a foreign state and acting in that capacity
The report says there may be a small number of professions where a recognised duty of confidentiality would require a limited exemption scheme where Members can apply not to publish the names of clients or amounts earned. This could include areas such as medical and confidential legal advice. A similar exemption is in place in the House of Commons.
The Committee say they will consider further whether Members should be required to register the level of all outside earnings as well as the source of that income in more detail before making wider recommendations. They point out that unlike MPs Members of the House of Lords are not salaried and are encouraged to continue with their existing careers when joining the House in order to bring that knowledge and experience to bear on scrutinising legislation.