Procedure in the House in non-ICGS standards cases
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5.26Penalties recommended by the Committee fall into two categories. Some penalties do not require any decision by the House, such as a requirement to attend training, to make a financial repayment or to make an apology to the House by way of personal statement or on a point of order; or the withdrawal of services and facilities from a Member or imposition of other personal restrictions including on travel, where these do not affect the core functions of a Member.1 In other, more serious, cases, it is the House which makes the final decision on penalties. Recommendations, such as suspension (which entails loss of salary and pension contributions for the relevant period), and withholding of salary without suspension, or withholding of resettlement grant, or the withdrawal of services and facilities from a Member or imposition of other personal restrictions including on travel, where these affect the core functions of a Member, or dismissal from a select committee, require a motion on the floor of the House.2 The motion is moved formally by the Government. The Member concerned may be heard first, in which case they then withdraw, following which the Chair of the Committee on Standards sets out the Committee's findings. Alternatively, and more commonly in recent cases, the Member concerned has made a personal statement on a previous day.3 When a Member, who spoke at the start of the debate on a motion to approve the report of the Committee into his conduct and to suspend him for a period, was judged by the Committee not to have made an adequate apology to the House, the Committee returned to the matter in a subsequent report in which it recommended that the Member should make a full apology in a personal statement to the House by a certain date, failing which the House should suspend him until such time as he agreed to do so.4 The Member subsequently apologised in accordance with the recommendation.5 Where a Member has resigned after the publication of a report but before the motion to agree the sanction has been made in the House, the report has been debated notwithstanding the resignation and the House has agreed to approve the report's conclusions and endorse its recommendations.6
Under the Recall of MPs Act 2015, a Member suspended from the service of the House for at least ten sitting days or for a period of at least 14 days, where sitting days are not specified, following on from a report from the Committee on Standards in relation to the Member, becomes liable to the recall petition process (see para 2.9 ).
- 1. See Committee on Standards, Twenty-second Report of Session 2010–12, Jack Dromey, HC 1766, para 18, for an explanation of the distinction between an apology on a point of order and a personal statement; see also HC Deb (11 December 2017) 633, c 67; HC Deb (6 December 2018) 650, c 1080. For the requirement to attend training, and the withdrawal of services and facilities, see Committee on Standards, Twelfth Report of Session 2019–21, Sanctions and confidentiality in the House's standards system: revised proposals (HC 1340), paras 25 to 41 and Annex, and HC Deb (21 April 2021) 692, c 1074 ff.
- 2. HC Deb (1 February 2010) 505, cc 38–41. In the case of a number of former Members whose actions the Commissioner found to breach the Code of Conduct, the Committee recommended and the House agreed to the suspension for defined periods of their entitlement to use or to be issued with a parliamentary photopass, Committee on Standards and Privileges, Ninth Report of Session 2010–12, Sir John Butterfill, Mr Stephen Byers, Ms Patricia Hewitt, Mr Geoff Hoon, Mr Richard Caborn and Mr Adam Ingram, HC 654; and Votes and Proceedings, 15 December 2010. For the withdrawal of services and facilities, see Committee on Standards, Twelfth Report of Session 2019–21, Sanctions and confidentiality in the House's standards system: revised proposals (HC 1340), paras 25–41 and Annex, and HC Deb (21 April 2021) 692, c 1074 ff; the core functions of a Member are defined by the Committee in its report as ‘(a) participation in the formal proceedings of the House or its committees, and (b) their ability to communicate with and make representations on behalf of their constituents’ (para 29). For a case in which the House did not agree with the recommendation of a Committee on Standards report, and set up a further Committee to consider the fairness of the system and then subsequently rescinded its decision, see HC Deb (3 November 2021) 702, cc 939–73 and HC Deb (16 November 2021) 703, cc 476–92 (Committee on Standards, Third Report of Session 2020–21, Mr Owen Paterson, HC 797). The Committee on Standards subsequently appointed Sir Ernest Ryder, former Senior President of Tribunals for the United Kingdom and Lord Justice of Appeal, to review the fairness of the system, see Sixth Report of Session 2021–22, Review of fairness and natural justice in the House's standards system, HC 1183. See also para 38.3 below.
- 3. For example, HC Deb (29 January 2010) 504, c 1044.
- 4. Committee on Standards and Privileges, Fifth Report of Session 2004–05, Conduct of Mr Jonathan Sayeed: Further Report, HC 473.
- 5. HC Deb (23 March 2005) 432, c 893.
- 6. HC Deb (6 November 2012) 552, cc 754–57; HC Deb (8 May 2014) 580, cc 302–10.