Jay to back code of conduct for peers

Peers should be forced to declare their outside earnings in the same way as MPs do, the Leader of the House of Lords will say this week. Baroness Jay of Paddington will back the proposed change as a storm deepens over an inquiry into the subject by Lord Neill of Bladen's Committee on Standards in Public Life.

She will confirm that ministers want to see reform of the present system, under which peers are not forced to register interests but are told to act on their personal honour. MPs, meanwhile, have a strict code of conduct and can be disciplined if they keep secret their financial interests.

Lady Jay will be giving her public backing to Lord Neill, her spokeswoman said. Lord Neill has come under fire from some of his fellow peers even for looking into the issue. They say only the House of Lords can debate its own rules. Some of them also believe the present system is working well and should not be changed.

A cross-party alliance of peers will force a vote next week on the issue which, if they win, could make it difficult for Lord Neill to continue with his inquiry. Technically, he could ignore them and continue but such a strong signal would be hard to brush aside.

Lady Jay will make her statement in answer to a question in the House of Lords from Lord St John of Fawsley, who will ask what action she has taken in connection with Lord Neill's inquiry.

Lady Jay fully supported moves to make peers more accountable, her spokeswoman said. Although there were differences between the two Houses of Parliament, both peers and MPs should be treated in similar ways.

"If this is the second chamber, peers are parliamentarians in the same was that MPs are," her spokeswoman said. "The people who oppose this think the House of Lords is some kind of club where people can go and speak but not be really accountable to the outside world."

Her statement comes as Lord Neill's officials begin their inquiries into the registration of interests in the House of Lords. They are certain to find that many peers choose not to register financial interests under the existing, voluntary system.

While peers are more likely to have outside jobs than MPs, who are paid a salary, far fewer peers register such interests.

In the House of Commons, where payments must be declared, just 12 per cent of MPs say they have no relevant outside interests. In the House of Lords, 41 per cent list none.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Analyst - 12 Month FTC - Entry Level

£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Chefs - All Levels

£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...

Recruitment Genius: Maintenance Engineer

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive & Customer Service - Call Centre Jobs!

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
Srebrenica 20 years after the genocide: Why the survivors need closure

Bosnia's genocide, 20 years on

No-one is admitting where the bodies are buried - literally and metaphorically
How Comic-Con can make or break a movie: From Batman vs Superman to Star Wars: Episode VII

Power of the geek Gods

Each year at Comic-Con in San Diego, Hollywood bosses nervously present blockbusters to the hallowed crowd. It can make or break a movie
What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?

Perfect match

What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high