MPs to force Commons privacy debate

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Indy Politics

MPs of all parties are set to force a Commons debate on super-injunctions amid universal complaints that the privacy rules are in chaos.

They are being backed by Downing Street, which has warned that a privacy law has been effectively established through a series of court judgments.

The move is being led by the former shadow home secretary, David Davis, who hopes to secure the debate next month.

Mr Davis and other MPs yesterday condemned Lord Neuberger's warning that reports of comments made in Parliament designed to break injunctions could still be in contempt of court. They warned Parliament needs to assert its authority over judges over the use of super-injunctions. The issue came to a head when the Liberal Democrat MP, John Hemming, disclosed Sir Fred Goodwin had taken out a super-injunction and a Liberal Democrat peer, Lord Stoneham, told peers that the RBS boss had been having an affair with a "senior colleague".

Mr Hemming said yesterday: "I remain of the view that the judges are not interpreting the law in the way that Parliament intended." He added: "I am also worried that the committee [of judges] appears to be attempting to dissuade the media from reporting what is said in Parliament."

Mr Davis said: "If it were not for both Lords and MPs being able to speak openly about super-injunctions, the public would still be largely unaware of this and other misuses of judicial procedure. It is not for the judges to lay down the limits of parliamentary privilege."

The former Labour minister, Keith Vaz, chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, said of yesterday's report: "This is a step on the right direction but it does need clarification by Parliament."