Motion to Agree

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:45 am on 18th December 2008.

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Photo of Lord Brabazon of Tara Lord Brabazon of Tara Chairman of Committees, House of Lords 11:45 am, 18th December 2008

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Woolf, for his kind words and his endorsement of our new approach. I join him in thanking the Officers of the House for all the hard work that they put into this to help me and my colleagues on the working group.

The noble Lord, Lord Campbell-Savours, makes some very important points. Nothing in here is intended to, or should, soften the rules by which we conduct ourselves. Noble Lords must still declare any interest, either at Question Time or the first time they intervene at each stage of a Bill. That is not weakened. The noble Lord gave an example of a particular case. If he and others are interested in the rule regarding paid advocacy, which could apply, nothing in the report affects the prohibition of paid advocacy under Section 4(d) of the Code of Conduct. It states that Members of the House,

"must not vote on any bill or motion, or ask any question in the House or a committee, or promote any matter, in return for payment or any other material benefit".

That remains exactly the same; it is mandatory and is entirely separate from the issue of declarations of interest.

The noble Lord, Lord Campbell-Savours, asked whether the committee could review the rules as they come into force and as time goes by. In paragraph 6 of the fourth report, which refers mainly to the new procedures, we recommend that the new procedures should be kept under review by the new Sub-Committee on Lords' Interests and, in particular, that the sub-committee should conduct a formal review not more than two years after coming into force and report its conclusions and any proposals for change to the Committee for Privileges. I shall make certain that the sub-committee is aware of the concerns of the noble Lord, Lord Campbell-Savours, and takes them into account when it undertakes its review.