Peers face register of interests

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The Independent Online
Peers should have their first register of outside interests, similar to the one for MPs in the Commons, a House of Lords report said yesterday, writes Chris Blackhurst.

The Lords sub-committee on declaration and registration of interests, chaired by Lord Griffiths and set up in the wake of recent sleaze allegations, found there was a case for peers having a register. It would be voluntary, unlike the MPs' version. Even so, the sub-committee acknowledged this would be a major departure from past practice: "Whatever the traditions of the House, times change and the harsh fact is that standards of conduct in public life are seen to have declined."

Members of the Upper House, said the report, should be governed by two principles: "Lords should always act on their personal honour; and Lords should never accept any financial inducement as an incentive or reward for exercising Parliamentary influence." The new document will be published annually.