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This Note sets out recent changes to the Code of Conduct for Members and Guide to the Rules relating to the conduct of Members. More detailed registration requirements in respect of remuneration of Members from outside activities came into force on 1 July 2009, following a resolution of the House on 30 April 2009. These have been modified in a resolution passed on 7 February 2011, which created a de minimis rule for these earnings. The Committee on Standards in Public Life recommended that the Code of Conduct be examined each Parliament, and the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards consulted on both the Code and the Guide to the Rules relating to the Conduct of Members. A revised Code was approved by the Commons on 12 March 2012. The Committee on Standards and Privileges has considered the Commissioner’s work on the Guide to the Rules and proposed a series of changes to the Guide in December 2012. These have yet to be debated by the House.

On 13 December 2012 the House agreed to appoint Lay Members to the Committee on Standards; and since January 2013 there has been a Committee on Standards and a separate Committee of Privileges, although currently they have the same Chair and the same MPs serve on each. A new Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, Kathryn Hudson, took up her post in January 2013 for a fixed, non renewable, term of five years.

The lay members of the Committee on Standards reflected on their first year in office and led a review of the Standards System in the House – a report was published in February 2015.

The Committee also revisited proposals for changes to the Code of Conduct and Guide to the Rules, in a report published in November 2014.

A debate to consider and implement recommendations from both these reports is scheduled for 18 March 2015.

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