I am delighted to open this debate, which represents the fulfilment of a great deal of unsung and often thankless work by the Standards Committee.
I should like first to talk about the proposals for changes to the composition of the Committee. Those were recommended in the sixth report of this session, which the House is asked to note. The report was put before the Committee by the Standards Sub-Committee, which was set up in response to the reflections of the lay members of the Committee on their first year in office.
The lay members have prepared a further note covering their experiences after two years in office. That will be published shortly, and I have no doubt that the new Committee will find it as useful, if as challenging, as we found the first one.
The Sub-Committee was chaired by Peter Jinman, one of the lay members, and the House, like the rest of the Committee, has much reason to be grateful to him and his colleagues. Although the report was prepared by the Sub-Committee, it was adopted without demur by the main Committee. Contrary to any fears that may have been expressed before the lay members were appointed, this agreement between the lay and elected Members of the Committee has been typical.
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