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Trade Unions

Volume 496: debated on Monday 20 July 2009

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission, pursuant to the answer of 23 April 2009, Official Report, column 841W, on trade unions, what steps the Commission takes to ensure that facilities given to trade unions are not used for political activity or political campaigning. (287288)

Political impartiality is a requirement for the majority of House of Commons employees. The staff handbook requires that staff seek permission from their manager before engaging in political activity and that if permission is granted, the activity must not be undertaken in circumstances where it could be reasonably be assumed that they were acting as a representative of the House of Commons. This restriction applies to employees who are accredited representatives or members of unions recognised by the House of Commons service when using facilities provided to them on the parliamentary estate.

The House of Commons service does not directly monitor the use of facilities made available to employees who are accredited representatives or members of recognised unions. If evidence of misuse of facilities is presented, it will be investigated.