Lords Privileges and Conduct Committee publishes reports on two members
The House of Lords Privileges and Conduct Committee has published reports on the conduct of Baroness Tonge and Lord Colwyn.
The committee's reports follow investigations by the independent House of Lords Commissioner for Standards and include her reports as well as reports from the Sub-Committee on Lords' Conduct.
The report of the Commissioner for Standards on Baroness Tonge found that she breached the Code of Conduct by not obtaining the required permission for filming and photography at an event that she hosted in a House of Lords committee room. Baroness Tonge accepted that finding. The Sub-Committee on Lords' Conduct recommended that Baroness Tonge should make a formal written apology for the breach, which she has done.
The commissioner's report considered two further allegations that Baroness Tonge breached the Code. The first was an allegation that Baroness Tonge had failed to act on her personal honour by hosting a meeting in a House of Lords committee room which the complainants alleged was antisemitic. The meeting was to launch the Balfour Apology Campaign.
The commissioner's report makes clear that a member would fail to act on personal honour by hosting a meeting on the parliamentary estate with the intention of promoting antisemitism (or any other form of discrimination based on a protected characteristic). Alternatively, a member would fail to act on personal honour if the member hosted a meeting without that intention but the meeting was taken over by those promoting antisemitism and the member took no steps to address that.
The commissioner assessed the detailed content of the meeting hosted by Baroness Tonge against the working definition of antisemitism agreed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and adopted by the Government. The commissioner found that the meeting was not hosted with the intention of promoting antisemitism and was not taken over by those promoting antisemitism, so Baroness Tonge was not obliged to deal with any such takeover. The commissioner therefore dismissed this allegation.
The commissioner also cleared Baroness Tonge of breaching the Code in respect of a separate event she hosted on the parliamentary estate. She found that the event did not constitute a book launch so did not breach the general prohibition on hosting book launches at catered events.
The report of the Commissioner for Standards on Lord Colwyn found that he breached the Code of Conduct by not declaring a non-financial interest as a vice president of the British Fluoridation Society when speaking in the House on five occasions. The report confirmed that Lord Colwyn had registered his involvement with the British Fluoridation Society in the Register of Lords' Interests.
The Sub-Committee on Lords' Conduct recommended that Lord Colwyn should make a formal written apology for the breaches, which he has done.