Cox Report

Oral Answers to Questions — House of Commons Commission – in the House of Commons on 25th July 2019.

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Photo of Justin Madders Justin Madders Labour, Ellesmere Port and Neston

What progress the commission has made in implementing the Cox report recommendations.

Photo of Tom Brake Tom Brake Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (International Trade), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union)

Two of the three principal recommendations made by Dame Laura Cox have now been implemented. Implementation of the third, on the independence of the independent complaints and grievance scheme from MP involvement, is under way. The commission will be considering options in the autumn.

Photo of Justin Madders Justin Madders Labour, Ellesmere Port and Neston

As the right hon. Gentleman will be aware, last week, we debated the Gemma White report and the real concerns of staff about the process. Does he agree that only when we have a procedure that is truly independent of Parliament, with effective, transparent sanctions, we will get the confidence of staff?

Photo of Tom Brake Tom Brake Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (International Trade), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union)

I agree with that point. The hon. Gentleman may be aware that a staff team have been set up to look at the issue of independence and are considering the options. They have an independent challenge group, which will look at, for instance, the impact on parliamentary independence, the ability of Members of Parliament to operate and ensuring that we have a system in which staff will have confidence.

Photo of Bill Wiggin Bill Wiggin Chair, Committee of Selection, Chair, Selection Committee

On that matter, if staff want to be treated as though this is a normal place to work, and therefore to be treated separately from the involvement of Members of Parliament, why not simply treat them as though they did work in any normal business and use the normal facilities of the law?

Photo of Tom Brake Tom Brake Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (International Trade), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union)

I think that is a good point, and if the hon. Gentleman wants to submit his idea to the working group that is looking at the issue, it might want to take it into consideration when formulating responses.