Written evidence from Dr Alex May (COD0001)


  1. I write a blog at dralexmay.wordpress.com. I'm a serious researcher: national media have many times reported my work published on the blog. Recent examples are newspapers The Sunday Times (21 June 2020, page 2 lead) and the Daily Telegraph (22 June 2020, front page).
  2. I've made formal complaints to both the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards and the House of Lords Commissioner for Standards.
  3. Here I call attention to a glaring inconsistency between the Code of Conduct and the House of Lords Code of Conduct.
  4. There's a Code of Conduct for House of Lords members' staff. By contrast, there's no such for MPs' staff.
  5. One problem with this inconsistency is over political lobbying.
  6. On lobbying, para 12 of the Code of Conduct for House of Lords members' staff says: “Members’ staff shall not make use of their access to the member who sponsors their pass, to other members (of either House), to the parliamentary email network or to the parliamentary estate to further the interests of an outside person or body from whom they have received or expect to receive payment or other incentive or reward.”
  7. Meanwhile, there's no such explicit “no lobbying” requirement for MPs' staff.
  8. Indeed, the register of MPs' staff shows individuals with other jobs as political lobbyists work for MPs. More accurately, it shows those staffers who disclose their lobbying roles. Some, but not all, list their clients as well on the register.
  9. The PRCA Public Affairs Board (PAB) publishes online a public lobbyist register, where members must disclose their clients.
  10. Registration with the PAB is voluntary, however.
  11. The PAB expressly forbids lobbyists holding a parliamentary pass.
  12. Do the parliamentary authorities agree or disagree with the PAB's stance on lobbyists having a parliamentary pass? The official position on MPs' staff and lobbying needs to be made clear, as it is for MPs and lobbying.
  13. If it's deemed acceptable for MPs' staff to be lobbyists, there should be full disclosure of clients.


22 September 2020