Statement on Committee for Privileges report

14 May 2009

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon, Leader of the House of Lords, made a statement to the House following the publication of two reports by the Committee for Privileges, one on allegations made against four Members of the House of Lords in The Sunday Times, and the other on the House’s disciplinary powers.

Baroness Royall announced that both reports will be debated by the House on Wednesday 20 May.

It is at that stage that the House will decide whether to accept the Committee’s recommendations, including its recommendation that two Members, Lord Taylor of Blackburn and Lord Truscott, should be suspended until the end of the current session of Parliament.

The text of Baroness Royall’s statement is set out below.

"My Lords, I announced to the House yesterday that the report of the Committee for Privileges into allegations made earlier this year about certain Members of this House would be published today.

"Two separate reports by the Committee for Privileges have now been published and are available to Members in the Printed Paper Office.

"The first report covers the disciplinary powers of the House in respect of serious misconduct by Members. The second report concerns the allegations made against four members of the House by the Sunday Times on January 25.

"Both reports will be put to the whole House for consideration.

"It is proposed to debate both reports together on Wednesday next, May 20. The House will take decisions on the reports and on the recommendations of the Privileges Committee.

"In order to give proper time for this debate, the Second Reading of the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Bill will be postponed until Tuesday June 2. The Third Reading of the Postal Services Bill will still be taken on Wednesday, but as last business after the debate on the two reports.

"My Lords, I intend to make no further statements outside this House in relation to these matters beyond what I have told the House today. If it is necessary or appropriate to make any further statement to the House before next Wednesday, I shall of course continue to undertake to keep the House informed.

"My Lords, these were serious allegations against Members of this House. The committees of this House charged with investigating these allegations have carried out their inquires and considerations in a serious manner – and the House now faces serious decisions on the reports which have been published today.

"The reports place an obligation on this House: an obligation of fairness and justice towards the Members of this House who are the subject of the investigation and recommendations which are set out in the report, and an obligation of fairness and justice towards all Members of this House and the House as a whole – as well, of course, as an obligation beyond this House to the people we are here to serve. It is a set of obligations which I trust and know that this House will discharge properly."

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