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Privileges and Conduct - Motion to Agree

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:15 pm on 30th April 2019.

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Photo of Lord Campbell-Savours Lord Campbell-Savours Labour 4:15 pm, 30th April 2019

My Lords, I always follow very closely the words of the noble Baroness, Lady Hussein-Ece, because she has shown great courage over a few years in a number of contributions, particularly the speech that she gave about the Lester case. However, I profoundly disagree with her.

I also listened to the comments of the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, who drew a distinction between the investigatory and the examinational approach to these matters. That is exactly the argument at the heart of what is going on in ICSA. People believe that ICSA will come to the wrong conclusions because of the process that it has adopted in its inquiries. However, that is another matter and it is relevant only in the sense that it deals with sexual offences.

Paragraph 122B on page 44 of the report says:

“When a member is being investigated in relation to allegations of bullying, harassment or sexual misconduct the identity of that member will not usually be made public until the publication of any report at the conclusion of proceedings (see paragraph 122)”,

which deals with it in some detail. I want to know what,

“not usually be made public until the publication”,

actually means. What criteria will govern whether the name of the Member concerned is made public? We are talking here about a person’s reputation, and in the case of Lord Lester the international reputation of a prominent lawyer. My view is simple. We need clear guidance about the circumstances in which the name of a Member will be made public when it may well be that at the end of the inquiry that Member is found to be totally innocent, yet his reputation will have been completely destroyed.