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Public lecture: Ethical Standards in Public Life - the British Parliament's Experience
 
On July 1, 2002, The British Embassy to Bulgaria and the Center for the Study of Democracy, acting as a Secretariat of Coalition 2000, jointly organized a discussion called Ethical Standards in Public Life - The British Parliament's Experience. Mr. Kevin Barron gave a short talk on the efforts of the British Parliament to maintain high standards in public life, and the effects they have produced.

Mr. Barron made a historic review of the resolutions, adopted by the British Parliament with respect to bribes and rewards to Members of Parliament. He noted that concern about standards issues in the House of Commons has focused on issues related to paid advocacy and registration and declaration of interests.



Mr. Barron cited some terms of reference of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, established in October 1994, and the amendments they had gone through. Some of the main changes proposed in the First Report of the Committee were a ban on paid multi-client consultancies and a Code of Conduct underpinned by the creation of the post of Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, who would maintain the register and investigate allegations of misconduct. The role and powers of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards were enlisted and explained.

The other issue raised by Mr. Barron was the registration and declaration of Members' interests. He outlined the specific registrable areas, the public duties of MPs and the general principles of conduct identified by the Committee on Standards in Public Life.

In conclusion, Mr. Barron made a review of the current compliance process as a result of the recommendations made in the first report of the Standards Committee, modified by the House.

There was an opportunity for questions and discussion after the talk. MPs, journalists and representatives of nongovernmental organizations took part in the discussion that followed.

For more information, see the full text of Mr. Barron's lecture.


Kevin Barron

Mr. Barron was first elected as the Labour Member of Parliament for the Rother Valley Constituency in 1983. In 1992-1993 he was member of the House of Commons Select Committee on the Environment. He has been member of the Intelligence and Security Committee of the British Parliament since 1997.

 
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