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Privileges and Conduct Committee - Motion to Agree

– in the House of Lords at 12:15 pm on 21st April 2016.

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Moved by The Chairman of Committees

That the 6th Report from the Select Committee (The conduct of Lord Bhatia) (HL Paper 133) be agreed to.

Photo of Lord Laming Lord Laming Chair, Freedom of Information Advisory Panel (Lords), Chair, Hybrid Instruments Committee (Lords), Chair, Liaison Committee (Lords), Chair, Refreshment Committee (Lords), Chair, Standing Orders (Private Bills) Committee (Lords), Chair, Sub-Committee on Leave of Absence, Chairman of Committees, House of Lords, Chair, Administration and Works Committee (Lords), Chair, Committee for Privileges and Conduct (Lords), Chair, Procedure Committee (Lords), Chair, Committee of Selection (Lords), Chair, Accommodation Steering Group Committee

My Lords, this is the second time that the House has considered a Motion on the conduct of Lord Bhatia. In 2010, the House suspended him for eight months for wrongly designating his main residence and claiming £27,466 in overnight subsistence and mileage expenses. The report before us today concerns his claims for mileage expenses from January to July 2010.

Following an allegation made on the BBC’s “Newsnight” programme, the House’s independent Commissioner for Standards investigated Lord Bhatia, and found that on 63 days he double-claimed for mileage expenses both from the House and from a charity that he was then involved with, the Ethnic Minority Foundation. The commissioner found that he breached the House’s rules on financial support for Members, and so breached the Code of Conduct. The commissioner also found that, in not being scrupulous about his claims, he had,

“failed to act on his personal honour.”

The Sub-Committee on Lords’ Conduct recommended that Lord Bhatia be suspended from the House for eight months and required to repay the £756 he wrongly claimed. He appealed to the Committee for Privileges and Conduct and the committee considered his appeal last week. Having carefully considered the points that he put, the committee decided to dismiss his appeal and upheld the findings of the Commissioner and the recommendations of the Sub-Committee on Lords’ Conduct.

Motion agreed.

Motion to Resolve

Moved by The Chairman of Committees

That Lord Bhatia be suspended from the service of the House for eight months.

Motion agreed.