House of Lords Appointments Commission

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Commission statement on Lord Laidlaw and tax residency

18 April 2007

In the light of today's media stories, the Commission are publishing the following relevant draft paragraphs from our forthcoming annual report which cover the Commission's dealings with Lord Laidlaw over his tax residency:

The Commission looks at residency as part of its vetting process. It considers that, as a matter of principle, individuals who are appointed to the House of Lords should have their main home in the United Kingdom so that they can devote the time necessary to make an active and effective contribution to the work of the House. The Commission also requires that nominees must be resident in the UK for tax purposes.

During spring 2004, the Commission vetted a list of party-political nominees. One of the individuals on the list, Irvine Laidlaw (now Lord Laidlaw of Rothiemay), was not resident in the UK. Following an exchange of correspondence and a face-to-face meeting, the Commission accepted assurances from Lord Laidlaw that he would become resident in the UK for tax purposes from April 2004. On the basis of this assurance the Commission found no objection to his appointment. The Commission would have taken a different view on Lord Laidlaw’s nomination if it had known that he would not be resident in the UK for tax purposes from April 2004. In June 2004 he was appointed to the House of Lords.

Lord Laidlaw has not become resident in the UK for tax purposes.

In 2005, as a result of a review of its vetting process, the Commission took the decision that in future it would decline to scrutinise nominees who were not already resident in the UK for tax purposes. It will continue to ask all nominees to confirm that they will remain resident in the UK for tax purposes.