Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Debate on Suspension of Certain Members

Today the House of Lords will debate the Reports from the House's Privileges Committee, which if the reports are agreed to - will see the first suspensions of members in four centuries.

The report in the conduct of the four members is available at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200809/ldselect/ldprivi/88/88ii.pdf. Only two have been recommended for suspension.

The other report concerns the disciplinary powers of the House of Lords. It concludes that
  • The House possesses, and has possessed since before the 1705 resolution, an inherent power to discipline its Members; the means by which it chooses to exercise this power falls within the regulation by the House of its own procedures.

  • The duty imposed upon Members, by virtue of the writs of summons, to attend Parliament, is subject to various implied conditions, which are reflected in the many rules governing the conduct of Members which have been adopted over time by the House.

  • The House has no power, by resolution, to require that the writ of summons be withheld from a Member otherwise entitled to receive it; as a result, it is not within the power of the House by resolution to expel a Member permanently.

  • The House does possess the power to suspend its Members for a defined period not longer than the remainder of the current Parliament.

That report is available at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200809/ldselect/ldprivi/87/87.pdf