The Code of Conduct sets out the standards of behaviour and rules of conduct that apply to MPs in all aspects of their public life. It doesn’t regulate what MPs do in their purely private and personal lives. MPs who are ministers must also adhere to the Ministerial Code.
The Guide to the Rules relating to the Conduct of Members is published in the same document as the Code of Conduct and provides detailed guidance on your obligations, including the requirements to disclose financial and other interests and to avoid paid advocacy.
If you need advice on the Code of Conduct or the Guide to the Rules, you can contact the office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.
The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards is responsible for investigating breaches of the Code of Conduct, and considers complaints about MPs—whether from other MPs or the public. If the Commissioner finds a relatively minor breach of the rules and the MP agrees to apologise and take any action necessary to put matters right, the Commissioner may uphold the complaint and confirm that it has been rectified. If the Commissioner finds a more serious breach of the rules or identifies an issue of wider concern, those findings are reported to the Committee on Standards—a cross-party select committee of MPs that also includes lay members. The Committee on Standards then recommends to the House what action, if any, should be taken.
The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards may not investigate complaints about:
- policy matters
- an MP’s views or opinions
- an MP’s handling of or decision about a case, including their handling of correspondence, whether or not anyone involved is a constituent of the MP—unless the MP’s conduct significantly damages the reputation of the House as a whole or of its Members more generally
The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards also considers reports of investigations into alleged bullying, harassment or sexual harassment by MPs, under the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme. The Commissioner may resolve these informally, using a range of remedies, or in more serious cases may submit a report to the Committee on Standards.