The Rules &

Procedures of the





Making a Complaint about a Breach of the Code of Conduct

  1.1   Complaints for hearing by the Disciplinary Sub-Committee ("the Committee") may be made by:
    a. The Chairman of the Conservative Party (“the Party Chairman”);
    b. The Board of the Conservative Party ("the Party");
    c. A member of Senior Management of the Party;
    d. A constituency Association;
    e. A member of the Party; 
    f. An officer or employee of the Party or of any constituency Association; and/or
    g. An individual.
  1.2   A complaint is made against a Respondent.
  1.3   All complaints and disciplinary proceedings shall be confidential and no party to the disciplinary proceedings and no witness shall disclose any details, information or documents concerning the complaint to any third party.


  Presenting Officers
    a. After the complaints have been made, they are managed by a Presenting Officer who may delegate his or her duties to a person experienced and skilled enough to discharge them.
    b. Where a complaint is made by the Chairman of the Party, or the Board, or a member of the Senior management of the Party, the Presenting Officer will prosecute the complaint on behalf of the Party.



The Grounds and Form of the Complaint

  2.1   All complaints must be in writing and made by completing the online submission form on the Party website or by any method of submission as determined by the Board of the Conservative Party.
  2.2   A complaint must allege that a named respondent has breached the Code of Conduct, specify the breach and give reasons and all evidence for the allegation.
  2.3   Presenting Officers may request the complainant to clarify the complaint if they do not understand it, or they consider that it may not be reasonably understood by the respondent to the complaint.



Pursuing a Complaint

      Receipt, Investigation and Refusal of a Complaint
  3.1   When they receive complaints which are capable of being reasonably understood, the Presenting Officers may accept or refuse the complaint as a preliminary step.
  3.2   A complaint may be refused at the sole discretion of the Presenting Officer because
    a. it is frivolous or vexatious;
    b. it is incapable of being investigated for whatever reason; and
    c. the complaint has already been disposed of, or should properly be disposed of by another means.
      No appeal lies from this decision. 
  3.3   The Presenting Officer may request further information about the complaint, including any evidence to support it.  This may occur before a decision is made to accept or refuse a complaint and may occur after a complaint has been accepted.
  3.4   If a complaint is refused, the Presenting Officer’s reasons will explain why in writing to the complainant.
      The Defence of any Complaint and Subsequent Process
  3.5   If the complaint has not been refused, and once any further information and evidence has been supplied, the Presenting Officer will send it to the respondent of the complaint as soon as possible.
  3.6   The respondent must respond fully to the complaint within 28 days of receipt, setting out any defence as well as any evidence in support. 
  3.7   Upon receipt of the defence and any evidence in support, the Presenting Officer will send it to the complainant.
  3.8   Whether or not any response to the defence is required is at the discretion of the Presenting Officer.
  3.9   If a Presenting Officer considers a reply to the defence is required, the Presenting Officer will send the reply to the respondent who will be entitled to have the last word. The respondent shall have 7 days to do that.  
  3.10   After the process described in paragraphs 3.1 to 3.9 has taken place, no further submissions or evidence will be allowed to the complainant or to the respondent except in exceptional circumstances.
  3.11   If the Presenting Officer concludes after the completion of the process described above that there is no case for the respondent to answer or that there is no reasonable prospect of the complaint being upheld, he or she shall dismiss the complaint and promptly inform the complainant and the respondent, as well as the Chairman of the Party, in writing, giving full reasons. No appeal lies from this decision.



Formation of the Committee

  4.1   A complaint is decided by a Committee of at least three individuals from a pool of candidates approved by the Party Board.
  4.2   Every Committee shall have a Chair.
  4.3   The Committee must be independent of the parties and impartial.
  4.4   As soon as reasonably possible after the constitution of the Committee, the names of the individual members shall be provided to the parties.



Transmitting the Complaint to the Committee and the Committee’s Work

  5.1   After the process set out above, the Presenting Officer shall send the Committee copies of the following documents to enable the complaint either to be upheld or dismissed:
    a. the complaint;
    b. the defence;
    c. the reply to the defence (if any);
    d. the rejoinder to the reply (if any);
    e. all accompanying and relevant documents;
    f. a copy of the Code of Conduct.
  5.2   The Presenting Officer must make sure that the complainant and the respondent have the same documentation as the Committee.



Powers of the Committee

  6.1   The Committee has the powers set out in Appendix 1. The powers are enforceable from the time the Committee is formed.
  6.2   The standard of proof is the balance of probabilities.
  6.3   The Committee may decide matters of fact and law. It may decide whether a complaint is allowed or dismissed. It may recommend to the Board that any of following sanctions should be applied to the respondent, having taken into account and mitigating and aggravating factors.
    a. Conditions on the ongoing membership of the Party, such as the need to undertake training or to make an appropriate apology or suspension from any office held within the Party or suspension from any candidature within the Party. The cost of complying with such conditions shall be borne by the respondent.
    b. A rebuke of the respondent.
    c. A severe rebuke of a respondent.
    d. An order of non-renewal of Party membership.
    e. Suspension from the Party for a period of time to be determined by the Board.
    f. Expulsion from the Party.



The Right of Appeal

  7.1   The respondent has a right to appeal a decision of the Committee.  A notice of appeal must be made in writing within 28 days of the Committee's decision being received by the respondent, excluding (for the purposes of calculating time) the day of receipt.  Any notice of appeal made after this time shall not be valid.  Notice is given when it is received, not when it is sent.  Notice may be sent and received by email and post.
  7.2   An appeal must be made in writing, and set out full grounds, to the Head of Member Governance of the Conservative Party either by email to or by post to Conservative Party, 10 Wellington Place, Leeds LS1 4AP.  The appeals procedure set out in Appendix 1 shall apply.
  7.3   Where the Committee recommends suspension from, expulsion from or the non-renewal of a respondent’s membership of, the Party, the respondent has a choice.  EITHER he or she can either appeal the decision of the Committee BEFORE it is sent to the Board in accordance with clause 6.1 (“the Before Appeal”) OR he or she can appeal the decision AFTER it is sent to the Board and after the Board has accepted the recommendation (the “After Appeal”).
  7.4   Where the Committee recommends any other form of sanction other than suspension, expulsion or non-renewal, the “Before Appeal” applies.
  7.5   The Before and After appeals are conducted before the Individual Member Review Committee, in accordance with Schedule 6 paragraph 21 of the Party Constitution.

Rules And Procedures of The Individual Member Review Committee

  1. The Committee has the power to determine appeals pursuant to Schedule 6 (21) of the Constitution of the Conservative Party. 

  2. The Committee has the power to determine appeals from the decisions of the Disciplinary Sub-Committee and of Committees constituted under the Social Media Complaints Rules and the Opposition Candidacy and Agency Rules. The Committee also has the power to hear appeals about sanctions imposed by the Party Board.

  3. The Committee shall consist of no fewer than three persons drawn from membership of the Disciplinary Sub-Committee of the Board appointed by the Board of the Conservative Party. No member of the Committee shall have had any prior involvement in the matter before it and shall be independent of the parties.

  4. The Chair of the Committee shall be a member of the Disciplinary Sub-Committee but shall have had no prior involvement in the matter under appeal. 

  5. The Committee shall have absolute discretion to organise and manage all matters under its jurisdiction as it sees fit, if it acts fairly, justly and lawfully and also efficiently (both in time and resources) as the circumstances of the case allows. The Committee may make such directions and orders as it considers necessary, either of its own motion or on application by the parties. The Committee as a general rule decides appeals on documents alone without an oral hearing but it may direct an oral hearing in its absolute discretion.

  6. The Committee may seek legal advice. That legal advice (and its instructions) shall be confidential and privileged to the Committee. However, if the Committee decides to rely on such legal advice, that advice shall be described in writing in its written record of decision.

  7. The appeal process is confidential to the parties and the Party. The work of the Committee, including the proceedings shall be confidential to the Committee and no person, association or other legal entity shall disclose any details, information or documents pertaining to the work of the Committee to any third party without the written consent of the Chair of the Committee. Hearings and deliberations shall be conducted in private.

  8. The proceedings of the Committee shall be informal, and the strict rules of evidence shall not apply. The Committee may retain a legal assessor.

  9. The standard of proof is the balance of probabilities. 

  10. If the Committee invites any person to make written representations, all documents should be received by the Secretary to the Committee by no later than 16.00hrs on the day stipulated by the Secretary of the Committee in writing. Any person with an interest in the matter who wishes to make written representations is invited to send to the Committee all documents by no later than 16.00hrs on the day stipulated in writing by the Secretary of the Committee.

  11. Documents should be sent by email to with the subject line IMRC: Private and Confidential

  12. The Chair of the Committee shall have absolute discretion to determine who shall or shall not be given the opportunity to provide written or oral evidence and define or limit the parameters of such evidence.

  13. The Committee may invite any person, at its absolute discretion, to appear before it to answer questions (either in person or in writing). That person may decline the invitation and the Committee will be entitled to draw an adverse inference should any person decline the Committee’s invitation to appear.

  14. The Committee may proceed in the absence of any witness or individual where it is satisfied that adequate notice has been given of the hearing and adequate notice to make representations and/or where it is in the interests of justice to do so.

  15. If any person wants to be legally represented, the Chair of the Committee shall determine whether any person may be legally represented at any oral hearing.

  16. Any person appearing before the Committee may (for moral support) be accompanied by a friend or colleague with whom he or she may confer, but who may not address the Committee nor answer any question on his or her behalf. A friend or colleague may act in a personal capacity only and be bound by the rules relating to the confidentiality of the proceedings as set out above.

  17. The Chair of the Committee shall have absolute discretion to exclude from the hearing, or from any part of it, any participant whose conduct is disrupting or likely to disrupt the hearing, or is likely to prevent another person from giving evidence or making submissions freely.

  18. The Chair of the Committee shall have absolute discretion to amend or vary these procedures where it is considered appropriate, necessary, reasonable or in the interests of justice.

  19. Any member of the Conservative Party who breaches the confidentiality of the proceedings shall be liable to disciplinary action. In extreme cases, this may result in that person’s expulsion from the Party and other remedies being taken.

  20. The decision of the Committee shall be final.

  21. The Committee shall communicate its reasoned findings in writing to the relevant parties within 28 days from the final decision being made.

Appendix 1

Powers of the Committee and Procedural Rules for Oral Hearings/Decision Sessions

1.   The Committee has absolute discretion to organise and manage all matters under its jurisdiction as it sees fit, provided that it acts fairly, justly and lawfully, and also efficiently (both in time and resources) as the circumstances of the case allows. The Committee may make such directions and orders, accordingly, either of its own motion or on application by the parties.
2.   Generally, the Committee shall decide complaints without an oral hearing. It may order an oral hearing at its absolute discretion. 
3.   Oral hearings/decision sessions are in private. No member of the public may attend although at oral hearings the respondent may be represented and also be accompanied.  The full name and address of all representatives must be provided to the Committee as a condition of the representation taking place.
4.   Without prejudice to the general power set out in paragraph 1, the Committee may make directions about time limits, the timing and manner of service of documents, and the giving and receiving of any notices, directions or orders, including orders for substituted or deemed service.
5.   Where there is an oral hearing, the respondent shall, unless he or she agrees to waive or vary any requirement for notice, as soon as practicable after the Committee orders an oral hearing, be given not less than 21 days written notice of the date, time and place of the hearing and of the terms of the complaint against him.
6.   Whether or not there is oral hearing, the Committee may at any time require the respondent to state in writing whether he or she:
  a. accepts the complaint and if not on what grounds he denies the complaint;
  b. accepts the facts as stated in the summary and if not the grounds for challenge;
  c. accepts the complaint whether he has any explanation in mitigation; 
  d. intends to attend and/or be represented at the hearing.
7.   The Committee may require the Presenting Officer or the respondent to provide such further information and documents relating to the complaint as the Committee consider necessary for the just, expeditious and economic disposal of the complaint.
8.   Nothing in these rules shall prevent either party waiving wholly or in part the time periods specified in these rules or the Committee directing such alternative time periods as it may specify.
9.   Where there is an oral hearing, the Committee may proceed in the member's absence where it is satisfied that the respondent has had adequate notice of the hearing and adequate opportunity to make representations and where it is in the interest of justice to do so.
10.   Where the is an oral hearing, the respondent is entitled to address the Committee and to give evidence and to produce any document or call any witness.
11.   Where there is an oral hearing, a witness for one party (including the respondent) may be questioned by or on behalf of the other party. A witness may be re-examined by or on behalf of the party calling him. The Committee may ask questions of a witness or of the parties.
12.   Where there is an oral hearing, both parties may make closing statements but in any event the respondent must have the last word.
13.   Whether or not there is an oral hearing, the decision-making process is informal (in the legal sense of the word), and the strict rules of evidence shall not apply. Evidence will not be taken on oath.
14.   The Committee may deliberate in private and without the parties present at any time.
15.   The Committee may notify the parties of its decision at the hearing (if any) or reserve its decision when a written notice of the decision will be sent to all parties.
16.   The Committee may in its discretion hear/decide two or more complaints against a member at the same hearing.
17.   The Committee may hear/decide complaints against two or more members in the same hearing/decision making session, provided that both members agree.
18.   The Committee may adjourn its proceedings from time to time as it thinks fit of its own volition or upon application by either party.
19.   The Committee may order either party to make a payment in respect of costs in its absolute discretion. In deciding whether such an order should be made, the Committee shall consider all the facts and matters it considers relevant including the conduct of the parties. The Committee may allow the parties to make representations on the issue of costs before it makes any order. The sum payable shall be in the amount determined by the Committee in its absolute discretion.
20.   The decision of the Committee shall take effect immediately but, where a respondent appeals, the effect of the decision is stayed pending the appeal.
21.   The Committee must record its decision in writing which must be sent to the parties as soon as possible after it has been drafted. If the Committee obtained legal advice when making its decision it shall record that advice in its written decision.
22.   Whether or not to publish the decision of the Committee, and/or of making the decision public, is a matter of the Committee’s discretion. The Committee shall have sole discretion to make its decision public but only where it is necessary to do so in the interests of justice, and shall only do so after considering any representations by the respondent on this issue.

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