Conduct Committee - Motion to Agree

– in the House of Lords am 3:51 pm ar 22 Tachwedd 2023.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Baroness Manningham-Buller:

Moved by Baroness Manningham-Buller

That the Report from the Select Committee The conduct of Lord Skidelsky (1st Report, HL Paper 4) be agreed to.

Photo of Baroness Manningham-Buller Baroness Manningham-Buller Chair, Conduct Committee, Chair, Conduct Committee

My Lords, this report arises out of an investigation into the relationship of the noble Lord, Lord Skidelsky, with a charity, the Centre for Global Studies. The report details how the investigation came about. The charity was established in 2002 with the noble Lord, Lord Skidelsky, as chair of its trustees. Its main source of funding was donations from two Russian businessmen, until they became subject to UK Government sanctions in 2022, after which there were no further donations. The noble Lord, Lord Skidelsky, registered his role as chair of the trustees under category 10 as a non-financial interest, but this limited disclosure was insufficient. Even though the noble Lord, Lord Skidelsky, was not paid by the charity, it is clear from the evidence gathered by the Commissioner for Standards that he benefited financially from its support, as did his family.

The noble Lord also made extensive and inappropriate use of the accommodation provided by the House to facilitate the charity’s activities. This was another breach of the Code of Conduct. He breached other provisions of the code by prematurely removing the charity from his registered interests in 2022, even though it remained in existence; by not registering certain books, advances and royalties; by not registering staff support he received from a charity for his parliamentary work; and by not informing the Clerk of the Parliaments that his charity was under investigation by the Charity Commission.

The noble Lord accepted that he had breached the Code of Conduct and he did not appeal against the commissioner’s findings, but he appealed against the commissioner’s recommendation that he be suspended from this House for one month. The Conduct Committee considered the noble Lord’s written appeal with great care. We accept that we had no evidence to suggest that he provided any parliamentary services or influence in return for the benefits he received from the charity, but we had to take into account the number of breaches in this case, their duration, and his continuing failure to acknowledge their seriousness. Taking all these factors into account, we dismissed the appeal and upheld the commissioner’s recommendation of a suspension of one month. I now invite the House to endorse this outcome. I beg to move.

Motion agreed.