Clerk of the House

Oral Answers to Questions — House of Commons Commission – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 30th January 2001.

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Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell Labour, Linlithgow 12:00 am, 30th January 2001

To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, on how many occasions since 1998 the Clerk of the House of Commons has been sued in legal action; by whom; and what the cost was to public funds in each case. [146225]

Photo of Mr Archy Kirkwood Mr Archy Kirkwood Chair, Social Security Committee, Chair, Social Security Committee

The Clerk of the House, in his role as Corporate Officer, has been involved in no litigation since 1998. In 1996, action was taken against him as Corporate Officer by Harman (CFEM) Facades (UK) Ltd. That case was settled, as set out in a written answer in my name in the Official Report on 2 November last year. In addition, the hon. Gentleman may wish to know that several civil actions have been brought against the commission as an employer during that period.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell Labour, Linlithgow

Are we sure, as the House of Commons, that the Clerk should, through the system, be dragged through the courts?

Photo of Mr Archy Kirkwood Mr Archy Kirkwood Chair, Social Security Committee, Chair, Social Security Committee

I share the hon. Gentleman's concern about the involvement of Officers of the House in litigation in the courts of the land. The hon. Gentleman may know that the Parliamentary Corporate Bodies Act 1992 made the Clerk the Corporate Officer of the House. Under that Act, he is given managerial responsibilities for the heritable property of the House and, in that capacity, is enabled to enter into contracts.