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United Kingdom: Alleged Corruption in House of Lords Brings Calls for Tougher Sanctions

(Feb. 2, 2009) Amid recent reports that four Peers of the British House of Lords allegedly indicated they would be willing to use their influence to amend legislation in the House of Lords in exchange for cash, the leader of the House of Lords has said that the House should be given stronger powers to punish Peers guilty of misconduct. The House of Lords is self-regulatory, and the current rules are provided in a Code of Conduct. Under this Code, Peers found guilty of misconduct can be censured by their colleagues, but not suspended from the House. The current rules were put in place as it was considered that “the prospect of being 'shamed' as guilty of misconduct was such a powerful deterrent that the Lords did not need any tougher sanctions.” (Andrew Sparrow, Lords Should Be Given Tougher Powers to Punish Peers, Says Labour Minister, GUARDIAN (London), Jan. 26, 2009, available at http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/jan/26/royall-lords-punish.)