Independent Expert Panel Appointed
On Wednesday 25 November a motion to appoint members of the new Independent Expert Panel (IEP) was approved by the House of Commons.
The Panel, which MPs agreed to establish on 23 June 2020, will determine appeals and sanctions in cases where complaints have been brought against MPs of bullying, harassment or sexual misconduct under the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS).
The Panel agreed its guidance on 15 February 2020, which can be viewed here.
- Read the 23 June debate on the IEP in Hansard
The Panel is entirely independent, with no MPs taking part in its decisions. The sanctions determined by the Panel could include the suspension or expulsion of an MP, which would then require a vote in the House. Less severe sanctions can be imposed directly by the Panel.
Membership of the IEP
The members of the IEP are as follows:
- Mrs Lisa Ball
- Monica Daley
- Mrs Johanna Higgins
- Sir Stephen Irwin (Chair)
- Professor Clare McGlynn QC (Hon)
- Miss Dale Simon
- Sir Peter Thornton
- Dr Matthew Vickers
- Further details of the members can be found in a report by the House of Commons Commission.
The members will begin work immediately to agree the Panel’s procedures for hearing appeals and determining sanctions. It is expected to start hearing cases early in 2021.
On news of the IEP’s approval by the House, Sir Stephen Irwin, Chair of the IEP said:
"It is an honour to be appointed as the first Chair of the Independent Expert Panel. The Panel will hear appeals and set the most serious sanctions, in cases involving Members of Parliament under the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme.
"For the first time, the more serious allegations of bullying or harassment by MPs will be adjudicated by a panel independent of the House itself.
"Our recommendations will be placed before the House, in public, and the House has voted that they should not be the subject of debate.
"The public and Members themselves will look to us to be independent, fair and robust in our processes and in our decisions. We are committed to that approach."