Parliament was prorogued this evening. Prior to prorogation, remaining Bills that have passed all their stages receive Royal Assent. One of the Bills getting Royal Assent tonight was the Byles Bill – now the House of Lords Reform Act 2014. We thus have in place provision for the expulsion of any member sentenced to a term of imprisonment of more than twelve months, thus bringing us into line with the House of Commons.
Yesterday, just before giving a Third Reading to the Byles Bill, the House agreed the 15th Report from the Privileges and Conduct Committee which, in anticipation of the Bill becoming law, introduced provisions for dealing with peers who are sentenced to imprisonment for up and including twelve months. Anyone so sentenced will be deemed to be in breach of the Code of Conduct, enabling the House then to take action in respect of the offending peer.
The Act is a modest measure, but a necessary one. It is gratifying to see at least part of the original Steel Bill making it to the statute book. In the new session, there will be discussions in the Campaign for an Effective Chamber as to what other provisions to pursue.