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Volume 745: debated on Monday 3 June 2013

My Lords, the whole House will have been disturbed and dismayed by the reports in the press over the weekend and today, relating to the alleged misconduct of particular Members of our House. Therefore, I thought I should tell the House that the Sub-Committee on Lords’ Conduct agreed earlier today to a request from the House of Lords Commissioner for Standards, Mr Paul Kernaghan, that he proceed to investigate the three Members of the House against whom allegations have been made. Independent external investigation of these allegations is therefore in hand.

To one extent, thanks to the Leader of the Opposition when she was Leader of the House, we are in a better position than in the past. For the past three years we have had in place a clear code of conduct to regulate our behaviour as Members of this House and we have had an independent Commissioner for Standards, whose task it is to investigate whether there has been a breach of that code. I am pleased that the necessary preliminary steps to secure a proper investigation have already been taken. From this point, it is now over to the commissioner, who will make his report on each case to the Sub-Committee on Lords’ Conduct.

The allegations made at the weekend are very serious and distressing to us all. I know that I speak for the leaders of all the parties and the Convenor when I say that they do not reflect the House that we know, or the Members who work here out a sense of public service and a desire to hold the Government to account and revise legislation—work to which I suggest we now turn.