Today is a busy day starting at the Standards and Privileges Committee, where we consider complaints made about Members of Parliament and also look into alleged breaches of the rules which stop people from obstructing the work of MPs. After that I am going to the meeting of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, which is taking evidence about funding of political parties. These two committees are often confused, but the first committee is a Parliamentary Select Committee made up of MPs, whilst the Committee on Standards in Public Life is not. It was set up by John Major after allegations of sleaze in order to set Standards for Public Life and has published 7 principles. Although it has a political member from each of the three main parties, the majority of members are lay members appointed by the Prime Minister from different walks of life : some are eminent academics, one a top accountant, another a former police chief and along with other members from other walks of life, our Chair is Sir Christopher Kelly, a former top civil servant. We are interviewing journalists and experts on Party funding and hope to report next year on how parties should be funded without suspicions of undue influence on policy from donors.
Later on I am attending a meeting to learn more about the current situation in Scandinavia.