Select Committees: Witnesses

Leader of the House written question – answered on 27th March 2007.

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Photo of Gordon Prentice Gordon Prentice Labour, Pendle

To ask the Leader of the House what assessment he has made of the merits of requiring witnesses to take an oath before giving evidence to Select Committees.

Photo of Jack Straw Jack Straw Chair, Modernisation of the House of Commons Committee, Leader of the House of Commons and Lord Privy Seal

All select committees have the power to take oral evidence on oath (administered, under Standing Order No. 132, by the Chairman or the Clerk of the Committee). It is not usual for such Committees, other than Committees on private or hybrid Bills, to take evidence on oath although this is done on occasion. The Ministerial Code and the Civil Service Code set the requirements for Ministers and civil servants who give evidence to Select Committees.

I have made no specific assessment of the merits of Committees taking evidence on oath more widely. It is a matter on which each Committee is best placed to take a view in the circumstances of the individual case.

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