Row looms over privileges committee: Tories could be hard pressed to find MPs suitable as candidates. Patricia Wynn Davies reports
Wednesday 13 July 1994
On the Labour side, senior privy counsellors such as Tony Benn and Peter Shore were being mooted, along with John Morris, the shadow Attorney General.
Membership of the committee would be decided through the 'normal channels' - negotiation between government and opposition whips. But finding suitable Tories without a wide range of outside commercial interests might prove difficult.
Dale Campbell-Savours, the MP for Workington, who has led calls for an investigation, reminded the House yesterday that the Select Committee on Members' Interests ruled in its 1990-91 report that members should withdraw from select committee inquiries where there were conflicts of interest. More arguments might follow about timing in the run-up to the recess. Labour MPs are keen not to lose momentum.
The ultimate aim of some Labour MPs is not so much to ban all outside interests - that is widely viewed as unrealistic; both Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs hold paid directorships and consultancies - but to stop MPs actively pressing issues on their behalf.
Some MPs predict a good half of the current clutch of consultancies and lobbyists would wither away. More cynical Westminster sources warned, however, against expecting too much from the committee. While its remit is unlimited, there is no rule that it must even make a recommendation.
The last Parliament's committee began investigating the leaking of a draft report of the social security select committee report by one of its members, Jerry Hayes, Tory MP for Harlow. Then came the 1992 election, after which no new committee was appointed. The matter ran quietly into the sand.
On other occasions the committee has shown its teeth. Joe Ashton, Labour MP for Bassetlaw, yesterday told the Commons of his experience before the committee in 1974. He had raised the issue of 'MPs for hire' and was censured for contempt of the House even though he was the whistleblower, not a recipient of money.
In 1957, the then editor of the Sunday Express, John Junor, was forced to apologise for a serious contempt at the Bar of the House over an article about petrol allocations to party organisations.
Rulings are not always followed through by MPs, however. In 1986 they voted against the committee's recommendation that Richard Evans, a Times lobby reporter, should be banned from Parliament for six months over the leaking of a draft defence select committee report.
Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again
...and it wasn't caused by an asteroid crash, as first thought
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered...
- 3 35,000 walrus gather on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
- 4 Brad Pitt, on the moment he completely lost his temper with Clint Eastwood's son
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Stella McCartney apologises over controversial 'very ill' model picture on Instagram
Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered...
Brad Pitt, on the moment he completely lost his temper with Clint Eastwood's son
Cheryl Cole named 'the most dangerous celebrity' on the internet
Former Tory donor Arron Banks ups his Ukip donation to £1million following William Hague 'nobody' comment
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
- < Previous
- Next >
£25000 - £30000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£26000 - £28000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...
£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: English Teacher required for ...
£55000 - £60000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...