Committee recommends new rules on process for complaints against former MPs who become peers
17 Nov 2020 02:53 PM
The Committee on Standards yesterday published a report recommending changes to provide for peers who are former MPs to be investigated in relation to allegations of bullying, harassment or sexual misconduct dating from their time in the House of Commons.
The Committee on Standards’ report agrees with a similar publication from its House of Lords counterpart the Committee on Conduct. The report recommends the closure of a loophole that meant former MPs in the House of Lords could not be investigated under the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS) for behaviour that is alleged to have taken place while they were MPs.
This new report recommends that complaints against former MPs in relation to bullying, harassment or sexual misconduct will be investigated under Commons procedures. The investigation would be conducted by independent investigators and the House of Commons Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, and the Member would have a right of appeal to the Commons Independent Expert Panel.
Where the allegations are upheld, the House of Lords Independent Commissioner for Standards would recommend a sanction and the Conduct Committee would hear any appeal against that sanction. This would allow the House of Lords to impose a sanction – which could include suspension or expulsion from the House – on a Member who was a former MP for behaviour which had taken place in the Commons.
In the less common cases of MPs who had previously been Members of the House of Lords, the reverse would apply, and any investigation related to behaviour while a Member of the Lords would be undertaken according to Lords procedures by the House of Lords Commissioner for Standards, and if the allegations were upheld any sanction would be imposed by Commons authorities.
The scheme set out in this report has to be approved by the House before coming into effect. The Standards Committee recommends that the House approves the proposed scheme by way of a resolution agreeing with this report and its appendix.
If the House approves the scheme, the Committee will incorporate it in the draft revised Guide to the Rules which will be presented to the House at the conclusion of the Committee’s review of the Code of Conduct.