Point of Order

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:33 pm on 19 February 2019.

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Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield 2:33, 19 February 2019

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Many Members regard parliamentary privilege—that we can say things in the House that people cannot take action against—as the greatest privilege, but a small minority of Members seem to use privilege more regularly to attack either colleagues in the House or people outside. Today, during the urgent question on the Northern Ireland backstop, two Members went for a senior civil servant, Olly Robbins, saying things about him, his reputation and his character that were quite indefensible. I know that Members on both sides of the House have thoughts about such remarks about senior civil servants, who cannot answer back and have no recourse. Is there any way that you could look into how a small minority of people are using parliamentary privilege in a way for which it was not designed?