Government’s parliamentary reform bill defeated

A clause in the Parliamentary Standards Bill which would allow Parliamentary proceedings to be used in court against MPs was rejected by 250 votes to 247 today. Had the clause carried, it would have ended a long tradition of Parliamentary privilege, which allows MPs to speak their minds without fear of court action.

How 247 MPs thought this clause was a good idea defies belief. If it had passed, it is almost certain that it would be used for political advantage – most likely by a government with a large majority. 

The cross-party justice committee had called for the clause be axed after a number of MPs complained about it on Wednesday.

Malcolm Jack, a senior HoC official, gave evidence to the committee, warning of a “chilling effect” of the clause on the freedom of speech of MPs.

Tory MP Gerald Howarth called the Commons vote a “serious affront” to the Justice Secretary Jack Straw who has been a keen proponent of altering the UK’s constitution beyond all recognition – to the detriment of the country and democratic processes.

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One Response to “Government’s parliamentary reform bill defeated”

  1. VotR Says:

    This is good news for freedom of speech. And another nail in the coffin of Labour's disintegrating authority.

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