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The resolution to set up the Speaker’s Conference confirmed it will be chaired by the Speaker and that he would appoint up to 14 members, all MPs. The Speaker can appoint one or more members to act as vice-Chair in his absence.

The Conference is to make recommendations on the contractual arrangements for the employment of MPs’ staff.

It will be appointed for the remainder of the Parliament but it is required to publish a report describing the principles underpinning its work by 31 October 2022.

The membership of the Speaker’s Conference was announced on 19 October 2022 and is listed on the Conference webpages.

The Speaker’s Conference’s first report (PDF) was published on 31 October. It provided an overview of how MPs’ staff are currently employed and funded; the support provided to MPs in their role as an employer; some comparisons with the way in which MPs’ staff are employed in other legislatures; and reviewed the development of staff support for MPs.

The report set out the principles that would underpin the work of the Speaker’s Conference. It set the Speaker’s Conference’s terms of reference and a call for evidence for the next stage of its work. The deadline for writtent submissions is 9 December.

Previous Speaker’s Conferences

There have been six previous Speaker’s Conferences. The Library briefing, Speaker’s Conferences, gives the background to the previous Speaker’s Conferences.

The first five conferences were established to attempt to seek cross-party agreement to franchise and electoral reform, including redistribution of seats. 

The last conference, in 2008-09, concerned parliamentary representation. Its reports are available on the parliamentary website:

Review of the employment of MPs’ staff (2009)

In April 2009, the House agreed with a government proposal that MPs’ staff should be employed by the House and referred the matter to the House of Commons Commission to make recommendations on implementing the decision.

Although the Commission set out recommendations for implementing the House’s proposals, in its report, Employment of Members’ staff by the House (PDF), it did not commend its scheme to the House for the following reasons:

  • it would have heavy costs;
  • it would secure no clear benefits;
  • it would place Members’ staff in an ambiguous employment relationship; and
  • it would significantly reduce the flexibility Members currently have to manage their staff.

Instead, it said that “Our preference would be for the House (or if appropriate the IPSA) instead to give greater support to Members as employers”.

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