Points of Order

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:10 pm on 11th July 2011.

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Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Speaker of the House of Commons, Speaker of the House of Commons 5:10 pm, 11th July 2011

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his point of order, but he is somewhat inclined to invest me with powers that I do not possess. Although it is generous of him to make that attempt, I think that in all wisdom, I should resist it. I will happily reflect on the particular points that he makes, but I would emphasise to him and to the House that there is a distinction between what the Chair can do and what the House as a whole can decide to do. The hon. Gentleman will know that a Member who wishes to raise a privilege complaint —he did not use those words, but I think that that concept was there in his point of order—is required to give me written notice. That is provided for on page 273 of “Erskine May”. I understand, as I think the House now will, that the Select Committees involved in this matter—the Home Affairs Committee and the Culture, Media and Sport Committee—are themselves pursuing the matter. As the hon. Gentleman also knows, the Chair does not intervene in matters before Committees of the House. I must also add that it is of course always open to a Committee to report to the House on any matter it wishes, but that is a matter for the Committee and not for the Chair to decide. I will leave it there for today.


Richard Taylor
Posted on 7 Nov 2011 1:54 am (Report this annotation)

As the speaker said, p293 of Erskine May (the 24th Edition, 2011), does state a a Member who wishes to raise a privilege complaint is required to give written notice.

The relevant section states:
"A Member who wishes to raise a privilege complaint is required to give written notice to the Speaker as soon as reasonably practicable after the Member has notice of the alleged contempt or breach of privilege.".

I cannot find anywhere other than the £267.00 book "Erskine May" where those procedures are noted, it is therefore perhaps unsurprising that Chris Bryant was unaware of them.