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Mr Alan Grimshaw (Select Committee's Report)

Volume 887: debated on Thursday 6 March 1975

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I raised with you yesterday, Mr. Speaker, a point of order on the question of the availability of documents to this House from Committees which were reported to the House and printed on the authority of the House and which were not available to hon. Members but apparently had been available to other people. I understood that you would today either have written to me or given a ruling on the issue that I raised.

I thought that the hon. Gentleman had communicated with me to say that on the whole he found no reason for complaint at all. If there has been some misunderstanding, I shall look into the matter.

I understood that there had been some misunderstanding about the availability of information to the House arising from the report from the Select Committee on Nationalised Industries.

I found that in the Votes and Proceedings for 25th February reference is made as follows:
"Sir Donald Kaberry reported from the Select Committee on Nationalised Industries, That they had agreed to a Special Report which they had directed him to make to the House, and had directed him to report certain Memoranda laid before them: And the Report was brought up and read (Second Special Report).
Report to lie upon the Table; and to be printed [No. 2371."
I then found, Mr. Speaker, that in The Guardian of 27th February there was a report of the proceedings of that Committee and its recommendations. Concerning the reference of the issues that had been before that Committee to the Committee of Privileges, that was not known to the House. It was not available to Members until yesterday morning. Therefore, I think that it is a breach of the privilege of the House that information which has been the business of the Select Committee should be made available to outside sources when it was not available to hon. Members.

I shall certainly go into this matter again. I was under the impression that I had received not long ago a letter from the hon. Member rather withdrawing the suggestion that there had been a breach of privilege. However, I shall certainly go into the matter again as there is some misunderstanding about it.