Before we come to our next business, I wish to make a short statement. I have received a letter from the right hon. Member for Haltemprice and Howden (Mr Davis) requesting that I give precedence to a matter as an issue of privilege. The procedure for dealing with such a request is set out in “Erskine May” at paragraph 15.32. The matter in question is the conduct of the hon. Member for Ochil and South Perthshire (John Nicolson) relating to private correspondence between him and my office. The House will recall that I gave the hon. Member an opportunity to apologise.
While “Erskine May” is clear that the granting of applications for precedence is a matter for the Speaker, given that the subject relates to my office, I have consulted with the Deputy Speakers before making my decision. It is not for the Chair to decide whether a contempt has been committed, but instead whether there is an arguable case for the House to examine such.
I have considered the issue, taking account of advice from the Deputy Speakers and the Clerks of the House. I have decided that this is a matter that I should allow the precedence accorded to issues of privilege. The right hon. Member for Haltemprice and Howden may therefore table a motion to be debated tomorrow. The motion will appear on tomorrow’s Order Paper, to be taken after any urgent questions or statements and before Government business. The motion will be available to Members once it has been tabled, which will be before the rise of the House today. If necessary, I will advise the House tomorrow on the usual conduct in debate on such motions. I hope that this is helpful to the House.