Letter: Peers' interests

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The Independent Culture
Sir: I refer to your articles on declarations of Lords interests (10 August). In the interests of accuracy I should point out that the picture was of my grandfather, who died in 1964!

On the main point of declaration of interest in speeches, I always declare any interest that I consider to be relevant to the particular debate. You mention four organisations I am associated with; I have not been involved with two of them, the Vehicle Security Installation Board and the Natural Gas Vehicles Association, for about a year and neither should appear in the latest edition of Lords interests.

The Institute of the Motor Industry, of which I am unpaid president, is a professional institute for the motor trade. It is not a lobbying organisation for the motorist, and therefore anything I said in the debate on John Prescott's statement was not relevant to my position with it. If a question arose concerning the conduct or ethics of motor traders I would of course declare my interest if I spoke.

The Parliamentary Advisory Committee on Transport Safety (PACTS) is a charity offering advice on transport safety issues to parliamentarians. I became an unpaid director a few months ago, an interest which I will declare for the next edition of Lords interests. Again I do not believe that anything I said was relevant to road safety or to my unpaid directorship of the organisation. However, when we recently had a debate on a House of Lords committee's reports on drink-drive limits, and PACTS had given evidence, I did indeed refer to my position in my speech.

I hope you will agree that nothing I said, or omitted to say, fell outside the letter or the spirit of the rules.


House of Lords