Statement from the House of Lords Conduct Committee on the ISC report on Russia
23 July 2020
At our meeting today, we discussed the findings and recommendations in the report by the Intelligence and Security Committee relating to the House of Lords, including the rules around the registering of financial payments and the scrutiny of business links that some members have with Russia.
As a Committee, we give the highest priority to ensuring there is transparency and accountability in how House of Lords members carry out their parliamentary work. To this end, we have already taken a series of steps to tighten the Code of Conduct that all members must follow. The Code expressly prohibits members from lobbying other members of parliament, ministers or civil servants in return for money or other reward, and the ban on paid advocacy in parliamentary proceedings is longstanding. Peers are also required to register all paid and unpaid employment, while earlier this month, the House agreed to tighten the rules on registering foreign government clients.
Unlike members of the House of Commons, members of the House of Lords are not paid a salary for their parliamentary work and often earn their living through other employment. Members are often appointed to the House on the basis of the experience and expertise that they bring from their outside careers.
There is a wide range of issues and areas for potential consideration arising from the ISC report and its particular subject matter and recommendations. We will examine closely what further steps could be taken to strengthen the rules in this context in order to maintain public confidence in the working of the House and the integrity of its members.
We have therefore commissioned a piece of work on what further possible changes to the Code may be appropriate and necessary, which we will consider at our next meeting.