The Attack on Sleaze: Nolan inquiry names floated

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The Nolan committee to investigate standards of conduct in public life is expected to contain six members from outside Parliament. The Prime Minister, who discussed the membership with Lord Nolan at Downing Street, was keen to ensure the committee would be regarded as a credible, independent watchdog.

Downing Street was unable to confirm the membership, but it emerged that nine people were being approached to join the committee. They included three politicians nominated by their parties: Tory MP Tom King, the former Cabinet minister; MP Peter Shore, a former Labour cabinet minister; and Lord Thomson, the former chairman of the Independent Broadcasting Authority, nominated by the Liberal Democrats.

The six members recruited from outside Parliament were believed to comprise: Anthony King, Professor of Government at Essex University; Sir Clifford Boulton, the former clerk to the House of Commons; Diana Warwick, chief executive of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy; Sir William Utting, former chief inspector at the Department of Health; and Sir Martin Jacomb, chairman of the British council.

Lord Nolan, 66, has a reputation as a scrupulous and independently-minded judge. He is one of the youngest of the law lords and has already announced that the committee will sit in public only hours after John Major announced that it would probably deliberate in private.