CND Members (Bail Conditions)

– in the House of Commons at 3:53 pm on 3rd December 1984.

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Photo of Mr Robert Rhodes James Mr Robert Rhodes James , Cambridge 3:53 pm, 3rd December 1984

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Last week the Marylebone stipendiary magistrate imposed bail conditions on 12 members of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, banning them from entering Parliament and Whitehall, and obviously the Palace of Westminster, for four months. The defendants had pleaded not guilty to charges of highway obstruction.

I do not comment upon the charges, as they are sub judice. Indeed, the House is aware that I am not exactly a supporter of CND. However, I am concerned that a prohibition should be laid on people—one of whom is a constituent of mine — as a bail condition, that will prevent them from seeing or lobbying their Members of Parliament at Westminster. Obviously, this is not a matter of parliamentary privilege, but surely it is a denial of the democratic right of citizens of this country—who have not been convicted of any charge — to meet their Members of Parliament in the Palace of Westminster.

As I have emphasised, my constituent has not been convicted of any charge. It is perfectly true that she can see me in Cambridge or anywhere in London other than in the Palace of Westminster or its environs. I hope that you will agree, Mr. Speaker, that I have raised a serious matter that is deserving of your attention and that of the House, as the guardian of the rights of Members of Parliament and their constituents. Although I do not expect an immediate ruling, I should be grateful if you would give serious consideration to this matter.

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

I am not certain whether this is a matter for me. Since the hon. Member has raised this point, I shall, of course, look into it and get in touch with him.