Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards


The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards is an officer of the British House of Commons.

Duties


The commissioner is in charge of regulating MPs' conduct and propriety.[1] One of the Commissioner's main tasks is overseeing the Register of Members' Financial Interests, which is intended to ensure disclosure of financial interests that may be of relevance to MPs' work.[2]

The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards is appointed by a Resolution of the House of Commons for a fixed term of five years and is an independent officer of the House,[3] working a four-day week. The remit of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards does not extend to the House of Lords: the post of Lords Commissioner for Standards was created in 2010.[4]

The current commissioner is Kathryn Stone OBE.

History


The post was established in 1995 with Sir Gordon Downey as the first commissioner, serving the newly formed Committee for Standards and Privileges. He investigated the cash-for-questions affair.

The second commissioner was Elizabeth Filkin (1999–2002), whose first case involved Peter Mandelson and a large loan which he had failed to declare in the Register of Members' Interests.[5] Her departure was controversial.[6][7]

The next commissioner was Sir Philip Mawer. MPs he investigated include George Galloway and Derek Conway. He avoided investigating high-level MPs such as cabinet ministers. Unlike his predecessor he was appointed to a second term, but he did not complete it; he took up a new post at the beginning of 2008 as an independent adviser on ministerial standards to the then prime minister Gordon Brown.[8]

John Lyon, CB, was commissioner from 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2012. In an article about Lyon's questioning by the parliamentary enquiry into MPs' expenses, Private Eye described him as "feeble" and an "establishment stooge".[9]

Kathryn Hudson served as commissioner from 1 January 2013 until 31 December 2017.[10][11]

The current commissioner, Kathryn Stone OBE, began her tenure on 1 January 2018.[12]

References


  1. Buonomo, Giampiero (April 2019). "Su due sentenze della sesta sezione penale della Cassazione in tema di corruzione e parliamentary" [On two sentences of the sixth criminal section of the Cassation on corruption and parliamentarians]. Diritto pubblico europeo rassegna (in Italian). p. 14. [Parliaments] in Paris and London have strongly focused on the 'reputational sanction' as a way for the discovery of the violation of the ethical-deontological standards of conduct of the parliamentarian. The institution of authorities outside the parliament has become the way in which those systems have tried to prevent judicial enforcement: both the English commissioner and the French déontologue (for some years, starting in 2011, appointed by the Bureau de l'Assemblée nationale) refer to the internal bodies of the respective parliaments, which are responsible for evaluating any sanctions.
  2. "Register of Members' Financial Interests". Parliament of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
  3. "Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Office". Parliament of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  4. "Lords Commissioner". Parliament of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 28 June 2012.
  5. Dillon, Jo (17 February 2002). "Elizabeth Filkin: the 'Witch' puts away her broomstick". The Independent. London.
  6. "Profile of Elizabeth Filkin". BBC News. 5 December 2011. Retrieved 27 October 2020.
  7. Hencke, David (5 December 2001). "How dirty tricks wounded Filkin". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 October 2020.
  8. Irvine, Chris (10 June 2009). "Sir Philip Mawer: profile". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  9. "Called to Ordure". Private Eye: 1241. 6 August 2009.
  10. "Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Commons. 12 September 2012. col. 382–387.
  11. "Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards: Nomination of Candidate" (PDF). Parliament of the United Kingdom. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 December 2012. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  12. "Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Office". Parliament of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 1 August 2018.