To ask the Senior Deputy Speaker what steps can be taken against members of the House of Lords who express anti-Semitic opinions falling within the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of anti-Semitism in the course of their parliamentary duties and activities (1) during, and (2) outside, Parliamentary proceedings.
The Code of Conduct requires members to treat those with whom they come into contact in the course of their parliamentary duties and activities (including parliamentary proceedings) with respect and courtesy. Behaviour that amounts to bullying, harassment or sexual misconduct is a breach of the Code. Under the definitions appended to the Code, harassment is unwanted physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct that has the purpose or effect of either violating a person’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them and is related to the protected characteristics set out in the Equality Act 2010, including religion or belief. Anti-Semitic behaviour that amounts to harassment would thus be liable to sanction under the Code.
In relation to parliamentary proceedings, however, the Code of Conduct recognises the constitutional principle of freedom of speech and excludes members’ views and opinions from the Commissioner for Standards’ remit. It is open to all members to address offensive behaviour or language used in the course of proceedings.