§ 2.47 p.m.
§ Lord McIntosh of Haringey
My Lords, on Thursday 22nd October the noble Lord, Lord Gillmore of Thamesfield, declared an interest as a non-executive director of Vickers and asked a supplementary question about job losses among the company's workforce. In my reply I expressed doubt as to whether a non-executive director of Vickers should ask a question about that company. I regret that my reply could be construed as imputing improper conduct by the noble Lord, which was not my intention. I have since taken advice on the matter and re-read the Companion, which states that restriction on speaking in the House on matters where financial interests are concerned,does not extend to matters relating to Lords' outside employment or directorships, where the interest does not arise from membership of the House. Lords should, however, be especially cautious in deciding whether to speak or vote in relation to interests that are direct, pecuniary and shared by few others".It is clear that the noble Lord was acting in accordance with the rules of your Lordships' House in regard to the registration and declaration of interests and that his question was in order. I therefore offer him and the House my public apology for any offence caused, as I have already done in private to the noble Lord.