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House Committee Report

Volume 759: debated on Thursday 26 February 2015

Motion to Agree

Moved by

That the 3rd Report from the Select Committee (Access and the use of facilities by members on leave of absence and disqualified members) (HL Paper 104) be agreed to.

My Lords, the House Committee reviewed the access and privileges available to non-sitting and former Members following the House’s agreement to the provisions for Members retiring under Section 1 of the House of Lords Reform Act 2014. A range of rules had developed over time and the Committee wanted to rationalise them.

Our report recommends that Members on leave of absence, Members who are MEPs and holders of disqualifying judicial office should no longer be provided with paper copies of parliamentary papers—they are available online—or have access to Library research facilities, but may still have access to the Library. Both provisions have a financial cost to the taxpayer, and are provided to support Member participation in the proceedings of the House. We also recommend that Members in those categories should have the same access to catering facilities as retired Members.

Finally, access privileges for the spouses and civil partners of Members in those categories—that is, Members on leave of absence, MEPs and holders of disqualifying judicial office—would no longer be extended, although they could of course still attend as guests. The spouses and civil partners of Members in those categories could also still obviously make use of the facilities of the House as guests.

If agreed today, these changes would take effect from the start of the new Parliament and the Clerk of the Parliaments would ensure that affected Members were aware of the new arrangements. I beg to move.

Motion agreed.