- Leader of the House of Commons and Lord Privy Seal
- TSO (The Stationery Office)
Parliamentary privilege ensures that Members of Parliament are able to speak freely in debates, and protects Parliament's internal affairs from interference from the courts. 'Parliamentary Privilege (Cm. 8318)' reviews the current processes following (failed) attempts by some MPs to use their privilege to avoid prosecution for expenses fraud.
The paper consults on whether privilege should be removed in cases of alleged criminality, though not in respect of speeches in Parliament.
Freedom of speech is arguably the most important privilege: a member must be able to speak or raise a matter without fear of a criminal or civil liability. The Government does not feel it necessary to change the protection of privilege in civil cases, nor in relation to injunctions or super-injunctions. But it is open to question whether parliamentary privilege should ever prevent members being successfully prosecuted for criminal offences.
The second major privilege is that of exclusive cognisance: the right of each House to regulate its own proceedings and internal affairs without interference from any outside body including the courts. This includes the conduct of its Members, and of other participants such as witnesses before select committees.
Recent court judgments make clear that statute law on employment, health and safety etc do apply to Parliament providing the law would not interfere with Parliament's core functions.
The green paper also consults on extending and strengthening select committee powers and a final section covers other miscellaneous privileges.
|Format||Paperback||Published||26 Apr 2012|
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