Prorogation (Disclosure of Communications)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:14 pm on 9th September 2019.

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Photo of Dominic Grieve Dominic Grieve Independent, Beaconsfield 5:14 pm, 9th September 2019

No, I can think of no such event. Indeed, it is the Treasury Solicitor’s Department and the Law Officers’ job to make sure that anything the Government say in litigation fulfils their duty of candour and is not misleading.

Then a most remarkable thing happened, Mr Speaker, and this is where it becomes more difficult for me. In the course of the days that followed I started to be given information from public officials informing me that they believed the handling of this matter smacked of scandal—there is no other way to describe it. Of course, that places me in a difficulty, because it is simply the information that I have been given. I want to make absolutely clear that I am not in a position—any more, I think, than any Member of this House—to be able to ascertain whether that information is mistaken. I can only say that I believe those sources to be reliable. Also, in my experience it is extraordinarily unusual that I should get such approaches, with individuals expressing their disquiet about the handling of a matter and some of the underlying issues to which it could give rise.

It is as a consequence of that that I have drafted, along with right hon. and hon. Friends and other Members, the Humble Address concerning the Prorogation documents. I want to emphasise at the outset that in doing so and identifying named individuals, whether they be special advisers, who make up the vast majority, or one in case a civil servant, I am making absolutely no imputation against any single one of them whatever. It would be disgraceful to do so, because I do not have the evidence on which to do it.