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"Other Indignities Offered To Either House

Volume 485: debated on Wednesday 14 March 1951

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Other acts besides words spoken or writings published reflecting upon either House or its proceedings which, though they do not tend directly to obstruct or impede either House in the performance of its functions, yet have a tendency to produce this result indirectly by bringing such House into odium, contempt or ridicule or by lowering its authority may constitute contempts."

Finally, Mr. Speaker, 'I submit that, in my opinion, there is clear evidence to obstruct the House and to prevent the consideration of urgent business in order —and I do not admit this—physically and adversely to attack Ministers and Members on this side. Mr. Speaker, I would with great respect—remembering that I did try to follow your advice and to indicate to you without delay, and I have written to you two letters since— submit that there is a prima facie case of breach of Privilege. I would ask if you would give your Ruling, and I am certainly prepared to submit a Motion that the matter should go to the Committee of Privileges for consideration.

The hon. Member raised this matter in the early hours of this morning and I promised to look into it. I have listened carefully to what he said, and I am afraid that the answer is this: That the matter of which the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Manuel) complains does not concern the privileges of the House, and even if the report is correct, the statement alleged to have been made by the hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, East (Mr. Boothby), does not appear to be comparable with any speech which in the past has been held to constitute contempt or breach of Privilege, and on these grounds I rule that there is no prima facie case.