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.
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.