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Question Of Privilege

Volume 901: debated on Thursday 20 March 1975

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I should now like to rule on a matter of privilege.

The House will remember that on 12th November, the last day of the last Session, the right hon. Member for Farnham (Mr. Macmillan) raised as a question of privilege the alleged disclosure of information concerning the deliberations of the Select Committee on a Wealth Tax before that Committee had laid its Report on the Table.

After such consideration of the matter as time then allowed, I said that I would give my ruling early in the next Session. I now have to inform the House that, having given the matter further consideration, I am satisfied that this is an appropriate case for me to allow a motion relating to it to have precedence over the Orders of the Day.

I thank you Mr. Speaker, for your statement and for the care and trouble which you have taken in this matter. As far as I am concerned, the time in which this disclosure took place could be a breach of privilege, but it is such a narrow one that I would not wish to pursue it any further if, indeed, it lies within my competence to carry it further or to leave it.

The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(Mr. Edward Short)

In view of your ruling, Mr. Speaker, and in the light of what has been said by the right hon. Member for Farnham (Mr. Macmillan), I think that the House will probably agree that in the circumstances I should not move the usual motion. I think that will meet the general wishes of the House.