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The Committee on Standards was appointed on 13 December 2012 by the House of Commons following its separation from the former Committee on Standards and Privileges to consider any matter relating to the conduct of Members.

The Code of Conduct for MPs sets out the standards of behaviour expected of Members of Parliament as they carry out their work.

The Code of Conduct describes the duties of MPs and notes that MPs are expected to observe the general principles of conduct in public life set by the Committee on Standards in Public Life (selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership). It also expects MPs to observe the principles (of respect, professionalism, understanding others’ perspectives, courtesy and acceptance of responsibility) set out in the parliamentary Behaviour Code [PDF]. The Code of Conduct sets rules on handling conflicts of interest, registering and declaring interests and prohibits paid advocacy.

On 18 October 2022, the House of Commons agreed a Procedural Protocol in respect of the Code of Conduct [PDF]. It set out the process for dealing with cases concerning MPs’ adherence to the Code of Conduct. It had been recommended by the Committee on Standards in its current review of the Code of Conduct.

In 2002, the Committee on Standards in Public Life (CSPL) recommended that, in each Parliament, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards (PCS) should initiate a review of the code of conduct [PDF] and guide to the rules.

That was endorsed by the Select Committee on Standards and Privileges [PDF] and supported in a debate in the House on 26 June 2003.

The current review of the Code of Conduct

Initial proposals

On 22 September 2020, the Committee on Standards announced it would “carry out a comprehensive and far-reaching inquiry into the operation of the Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament”.

While the Committee on Standards was undertaking its inquiry, the PCS began her own review of the Code of Conduct.

The Committee on Standards brought forward initial proposals for consultation in November 2021. Its report, Review of the Code of Conduct: proposals for consultation [PDF], brought the two strands together. It included the Commissioner’s review and commented on it in developing its proposals for consultation.

In its report, the Committee said it intended to ask a senior judicial figure to review the fairness of the current system.

On 9 December 2021, the Committee confirmed it had appointed former Lord Justice of Appeal and Senior President of Tribunals, Rt Hon Sir Ernest Ryder.

The Committee’s November 2021 report was debated in February 2022, and the Committee took further evidence early in 2022.

Review of fairness of the system

Sir Ernest’s review was published in March 2022:

Development of the proposals

Following consultation on its initial report, the Committee published:

In this report, the Committee announced that it would set out information about the House’s standards procedures in a single document.

The Committee received further feedback on that report and fulfilled its commitment to set out in one place how the standards process should work, so in July 2022, it published two further reports:

Most recently, on 27 September, the Committee published the Government’s response to the three reports from 2022-23:

Debate on appeals and the Procedural Protocol, October 2022

On 13 October 2022, the Leader of the House announced that, on 18 October 2022, a debate would be held on a motion relating to the Committee on Standards reports into the code of conduct and its recommendation relating to appeals and a procedural protocol in the House’s conduct system.

The Government’s motion [PDF] was published in the Future Business section of the Order Paper. It provided for the adoption of the appeals process and the Procedural Protocol but did not provide for the revised Code of Conduct and Guide to the Rules relating to the Conduct of Members to be adopted. The motion proposed amendments to the Committee’s proposed procedural protocol to reflect this.

The motion was agreed on 18 October 2022. The new protocol, setting out the process for dealing with cases concerning MPs’ adherence to the Code of Conduct, was approved and subsequently published:

Debate on a New Code of Conduct and Guide to the Rules, December 2022

On 1 December 2022, the Leader of the House announced that there would be a debate, on 12 December, on “a motion relating to the First and Third Reports of the Committee on Standards on a New Code of Conduct and Guide to the Rules”.

The reports referred to are:


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