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Joint Committee on Human Rights

Volume 778: debated on Thursday 9 February 2017

Membership Motion

Moved by

That Baroness O’Cathain be appointed a member of the Select Committee.

My Lords, I have had some correspondence with the Clerk of the Parliaments. I had not realised that at some point this House agreed that any mistakes that are made in relation to room bookings represent a breach of the Code of Conduct. In other words, if a Member books a room and is not present for the whole of the period of that booking, they are then in breach of the Code of Conduct and can be reported to the Standards and Privileges Committee.

This is quite astonishing and I do not know when it got through, how it got through, and whether other noble Lords realised what was happening. I think we should be far more careful when we look at these Motions. We should have an explanation of why they are being put forward from whoever is moving the Motion—whether it is the Senior Deputy Speaker, the Chief Whip, the Leader of the House or whoever—so that we know exactly the implications. It would be quite astonishing if, just because of an inadvertence in relation to room bookings, a Member was in serious breach of the code. Could that be looked at again?

Could I say to the noble Lord, with the utmost courtesy, that this is nothing to do with the Motion that I am proposing just now, which is about a change to the membership of the Joint Committee on Human Rights? However, as always, outwith the Chamber, I will have the most fruitful engagement with the noble Lord at any time.

Motion agreed.