House of Lords will vote on “cash for amendments” suspensions next week

May 14, 2009 at 3:50 pm Leave a comment

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The Leader of the House of Lords has told peers that they will have a chance to debate two reports published by the Committee for Privileges.

The first report covers the disciplinary powers of the House in respect of serious misconduct by Members.

The second report concerns the allegations made against  Lord Moonie, Lord Snape, Lord Truscott and Lord Taylor of Blackburn, all Labour peers.

The report arises out of allegations made against the four Members in The Sunday Times on 25 January 2009, which subsequently formed the basis of a complaint.

Reporters posing as lobbyists for a foreign company looking to set up a chain of shops in the UK approached several peers to see if they would accept bribes to help the company obtain an exemption from the Business Rates Supplements Bill.

Lord Truscott and Lord Taylor of Blackburn were accused by The Sunday Times of being willing to change laws in exchange for cash.

Today the committee recommended they be suspended from the House for up to six months.

“Both reports will be put to the whole House for consideration,” Baroness Royall, the Leader of the Lords, said today.

“It is proposed to debate both reports together on Wednesday next, May 20th.”

Peers will decide whether to accept the Committee’s recommendations, including its recommendation that two Members, Lord Taylor of Blackburn and Lord Truscott, should be suspended until the end of the current session of Parliament.

“In order to give proper time for this debate, the Second Reading of the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Bill will be postponed until Tuesday June 2,” Baroness Royall said.

“The Third Reading of the Postal Services Bill will still be taken on Wednesday, but as last business after the debate on the two reports.

“My Lords, I intend to make no further statements outside this House in relation to these matters beyond what I have told the House today.

“If it is necessary or appropriate to make any further statement to the House before next Wednesday, I shall of course continue to undertake to keep the House informed.

“My Lords, these were serious allegations against Members of this House.

“The committees of this House charged with investigating these allegations have carried out their inquires and considerations in a serious manner – and the House now faces serious decisions on the reports which have been published today.

“The reports place an obligation on this House: an obligation of fairness and justice towards the Members of this House who are the subject of the investigation and recommendations which are set out in the report, and an obligation of fairness and justice towards all Members of this House and the House as a whole – as well, of course, as an obligation beyond this House to the people we are here to serve.

“It is a set of obligations which I trust and know that this House will discharge properly.”

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