Strengthening Standards in Public Life — Reforms to Code of Conduct for MPs — 17 Nov 2021 at 18:41
The majority of MPs voted to express some support for reforms to the Code of Conduct for MPs including: banning MPs from paid work as a Parliamentary strategist, adviser or consultant; limiting outside activity to a reasonable amount; clearer and broader rules on registering interests and gifts; making it easier to access declarations of interests and gifts; banning substantive gifts or hospitality from lobbyists, and to require candidates to indicate if they intended to retain interests on election.
MPs were considering the motion:
- That this House:
- (1) endorses the 2018 recommendation from the Committee on Standards in Public Life that Members should be banned from any paid work to provide services as a Parliamentary strategist, adviser or consultant;
- (2) instructs the Committee on Standards to draw up proposals to implement this and to report by 31 January 2022; and
- (3) orders that on the expiry of fifteen sitting days from the date on which the Committee makes its report to the House, if no debate has been held on a substantive motion relating to recommendations in that report, the Speaker shall give precedence to a substantive motion on the recommendations in that report tabled thereafter by any Member.
That text had already been rejected by MPs in a previous vote which rejected the motion:
- That the original words stand part of the Question.
The amendment supported by the majority of MPs in this vote was:
- to leave out from “House” to the end of the Question and add: :“acknowledges recent concern over the outside interests of Members of Parliament;
- believes the rules which apply to MPs must be up to date, effective and appropriately rigorous;
- recalls the 2018 report by the Committee on Standards in Public Life into this matter;
- believes that recommendations 1 and 10 in that report form the basis of a viable approach which could command the confidence of parliamentarians and the public;
- believes that these recommendations should be taken forward; and
- supports cross-party work, including that being done by the House’s Committee on Standards, to bring forward recommendations to update the Code of Conduct for MPs by 31 January 2022.”
The recommendations in question are:
- * Recommendation 1: The Code of Conduct for MPs should be updated to state that: Any outside activity undertaken by a MP, whether remunerated or unremunerated, should be within reasonable limits and should not prevent them from fully carrying out their range of duties.
- * Recommendation 2: The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards and the Commons Committee on Standards should undertake a review of the rules for the registration of interests. They should consider how the rules could be revised to make them clearer to MPs and the public.
- * Recommendation 3: The Code of Conduct for MPs and Guide to the Rules should be revised to state that MPs should register any non-pecuniary interests on the public Register of Interests, on the same basis as pecuniary interests: that the interest might reasonably be thought by others to influence actions taken in their capacity as a Member of Parliament.
- * Recommendation 4: As a matter of urgency, the Register of Members’ Interests should be updated to ensure it is digitally accessible to the public and other MPs.
- * Recommendation 5: The Code of Conduct and Guide to the Rules for MPs should be revised to make clear when MPs do need to declare pecuniary and non-pecuniary interests, and what level of detail should be provided in declarations of interest.
- * Recommendation 6: The Parliamentary Digital Service should develop and implement a digital tool to identify where MPs have declared interests during Parliamentary proceedings.
- * Recommendation 7: The Code of Conduct for MPs and Guide to the Rules should be updated to provide explicitly that Members should not accept any but the most insignificant or incidental gift, benefit or hospitality from lobbyists. Guidance should be offered on the limits of ‘insignificant or incidental’.
- * Recommendation 8: The Code of Conduct for MPs and Guide to the Rules should be updated to state that MPs should register accepted gifts and hospitality. The register of MPs’ gifts and hospitality should be published regularly and in an easily accessible format. The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards and Commons Committee on Standards should have responsibility for sanctions should gifts or hospitality not be registered.
- * Recommendation 9: All candidates at Parliamentary elections must publish, at nomination, whether they intend to continue to hold any existing interests if elected. The Cabinet Office should issue guidance on the registration of these outside interests in time for the next general election.
- * Recommendation 10: The Code of Conduct for MPs and Guide to the Rules should be updated to state: MPs should not accept any paid work to provide services as a Parliamentary strategist, adviser or consultant, for example, advising on Parliamentary affairs or on how to influence Parliament and its members. MPs should never accept any payment or offers of employment to act as political or
Parliamentary consultants or advisers.
As the original text had already been rejected this vote was focused on if to approve, or not, the amended text.
The motion supported by a majority of MPs in this vote was:
- That the proposed words be there added.
Under House of Commons standing order 31 following the support for this motion the motion, as amended, was deemed to be agreed to.
-  Strengthening Standards in Public Life — Ban MPs Working as a Paid Parliamentary Strategist, Adviser or Consultant, House of Commons Vote, 17 Nov 2021 at 18:41, PublicWhip.org.uk
-  MPs’ Outside Interests, Committee on Standards in Public Life, July 2018, Gov.uk
-  House of Commons Standing Order 31, Questions on amendments, Parliament.uk
Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.
What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.
What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.
What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.
|Party||Majority (Aye)||Minority (No)||Both||Turnout|
|Con||297 (+2 tell)||0 (+2 tell)||0||83.4%|
|Peter Bone||Wellingborough||Con (front bench)||tellno|
|Jackie Doyle-Price||Thurrock||Con (front bench)||tellno|