Clause 1 — Expulsion and suspension of Members of the House of Lords

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:40 am on 6th March 2015.

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Photo of George Young George Young Conservative, North West Hampshire 10:40 am, 6th March 2015

I do not think that the amendment is necessary. Some of the concerns expressed by my hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch do not arise. He was worried that the code of conduct could be changed and then find someone guilty, but that cannot happen under the existing code. Moreover, when we went around this course before, the Standing Orders were changed soon afterwards. The key thing, however, is that peers already know what is right and what is wrong under the code of conduct. We are not changing the code of conduct; all we are changing is the penalties. I do not see how the scenario my hon. Friend outlined could arise, because the question of conduct is wholly unchanged by the Bill and, indeed, by his amendment. We are just giving the other House some additional sanctions, which it wants in order to deal with conduct and extend the period of suspension beyond the lifetime of a Parliament. My hon. Friend conceded that that was logical. We are also giving it the ultimate power of expulsion for behaviour that is beyond the pale. Again, that cannot be applied retrospectively under clause 4.