Press (Government Information)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 15th December 1975.

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Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

Order. Has this anything to do with the supply of documents, or is it a different point of order?

Photo of Hon. Nicholas Ridley Hon. Nicholas Ridley , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

It is a different point of order, Mr. Speaker, which may well concern privilege. I wish to ask your advice on the possible reference of a matter to the Committee of Privileges.

It will be within your recollection, Mr. Speaker, that two journalists were recently censured by the Committee of Privileges—indeed, the matter is to be debated tomorrow night—for having leaked a confidential document of this House in the Press. It now transpires that the whole of the negotiations over the Chrysler matter, together with the inner dissensions among Cabinet members and the different points of view taken by various members of the Cabinet, have been leaked to the Press in the Sunday newspapers. This is not quite the same because it is not a matter concerning a Committee of this House. However, it is a matter concerning the Government, and for the Cabinet to leak these matters to the Press without first informing the House about all of them is a far more grievous breach of the privileges of this House—

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

Order. The hon. Member is trying hard and ingeniously, but what the Government do is not a matter for the Chair. This can come within the ambit of privilege only if it refers to the proceedings of a Committee of the House. The hon. Member's point is a legitimate one to make in a speech in a debate, but it is not a matter of order, and I must so rule.