Code of conduct review may target sleaze scandal MPs
The code of conduct for MPs is being reviewed, with the possibility of a new test of whether a politician caught up in a sleaze scandal has damaged the reputation of the House of Commons.
A consultation on the changes launched by Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Kathryn Hudson questions whether the "very high bar" was set at the right level.
The current code of conduct states that MPs should not do anything which would "cause significant damage to the reputation and integrity of the House of Commons as a whole, or of its members generally".
The consultation says the measure had been taken "to set a very high bar, which might be met only in extreme and extremely limited circumstances.
"It is clear that the rule is not intended to cover a member's private life. It is also clear that behaviour which may reflect badly on the particular member is not of itself sufficient to bring the House and all members generally into disrepute; the question is whether the very high bar which has been set is at the appropriate level."
The code is reviewed in every parliament, and it will be examined along with the guide to the rules.
Sir Kevin Barron, the chairman of the Committee on Standards welcomed the review and said: "T he Parliamentary Commissioner has today launched a thorough review of the code of conduct for members and of the guide to the rules.
"My committee very much welcomes the review and we hope that as many people as possible respond to the consultation.
"The review of the code is an event which happens once a parliament but this is the first time that the code and guide to the rules have been reviewed together.
"We are keen to learn what changes might be made to ensure that the code clearly reflects the standards that the public have the right to expect from their MPs."
The review process is likely to run throughout this year, in several stages, with a second consultation expected on detailed changes to the rules before the commissioner makes recommendations to MPs on the updated code and guide.