Statement by the Chair on recent media reports
1 December 2022
In response to recent news coverage of the current investigation by the independent House of Lords Commissioner for Standards into Baroness Mone, the Chair of the Conduct Committee, Baroness Manningham-Buller, has issued a statement. This has been sent to 38 Degrees, which has organised a petition calling for Lady Mone to be expelled from the House.
The statement is as follows:
“As Chair of the House of Lords Conduct Committee, I understand the public concern over the media reports about Baroness Mone. So I hope it will be helpful if I set out the position.
Under the House of Lords Code of Conduct, and the accompanying Guide, complaints against members of the House are considered by one of two independent Commissioners for Standards. In January 2022 the Commissioners received a complaint about Lady Mone, and a formal investigation was started.
Later it emerged that the National Crime Agency was also investigating Lady Mone. Paragraph 144 of the Guide to the Code of Conduct states that the Commissioners may not finalise or publish any report into the conduct of a member of the House while the matter is under investigation by the police or another agency as part of a criminal investigation. This is to avoid any risk that an internal investigation and publication of the resulting report could prejudice the criminal process.
It follows that the Commissioner is not currently able to finalise his report. But once any criminal process is complete he will do so. If he exonerates Lady Mone he will then publish his report and set out his reasoning. If on the other hand he finds that she has breached the Code of Conduct, he will present the report to the Conduct Committee. In such cases we consider the Commissioner’s findings, hear any appeal against those findings from the member concerned, and, if we reject the appeal, recommend a sanction to the whole House of Lords, which takes the final decision. The sanctions available range from a requirement to make a personal apology, to, in the most serious cases, expulsion from the House of Lords.
As in in all cases, I can assure you that the Conduct Committee will fulfil its role as quickly as possible, once a report is put to it by the Commissioner.