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Complaint Of Privilege

Volume 655: debated on Tuesday 13 March 1962

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Yesterday, the hon. Member for Goole (Mr. Jeger) raised with me a complaint of breach of Privilege with regard to an article which appeared in last Sunday's Sunday Telegraph.

I have given very careful consideration to the hon. Member's complaint in the light of the precedents, and, in view of the opinion which I have formed, I think that I had better say as little as possible about the article.

It is my view that the article does not, prima facie, constitute a contempt of this House and does not, prima facie, involve a breach of any of its privileges.

That means that I cannot allow the hon. Member's complaint precedent over the Orders of the Day. But, of course, that has no effect on what the House might choose to do in the matter should it be raised on a substantive Motion.

On the point of order. Has it occurred to you, Mr. Speaker, that a claim of Privilege of this character, which introduces the names of other hon. Members, is rather an abuse of the procedure under which a claim of Privilege can be made? Has it not occurred to you, Sir, that that was the purpose of this claim of Privilege?

I see no ground on which I could take the view that there was an abuse. If the right hon. Member desires to press the matter, he can take appropriate steps to do so.